(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Great Smoky Mountains"

cOreat Smo 



Clemsoi 




«?. ?A-v/a 




.V> ',:'.!-> T;;;v.. 



I 






Handbook 112 



i 



Mountains 



Great Smoky Mountains 

National Park 

North Carolina and Tennessee 

Produced by the 
Division of Publications 
National Park Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 
Washington, D.C. 1981 



The National Park Handbook Series 

National Park Handbooks, compact introductions to 
the great natural and historic places administered by 
the National Park Sendee, are designed to promote 
understanding and enjoyment of the parks. Each is in- 
tended to be informative reading and a useful guide 
before, during, and after a park visit. More than 100 
titles are in print. This is Handbook 112. You may 
purchase the handbooks through the mail by writing to 
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Print- 
ing Office, Washington, DC 20402. 

About This Book 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles the 
North Carolina-Tennessee border and encompasses the 
climax of the Appalachian Mountain System. Major at- 
tractions are the mountains themselves, the preserved 
structures and lore of mountain folklife, stupendous dis- 
plays of flowering plants and shrubs, fall colors, wild 
animals, superb hiking opportunities, and gorgeous 
rivers, streams, and waterfalls. This handbook is pub- 
lished in support of the National Park Service's man- 
agement policies and interpretive programs at the park. 
Part 1 gives a brief introduction to what you may find 
in a leisurely visit to the park; Part 2 outlines the natural 
history of the mountains and their valleys; and Part 3 
presents concise travel guide and reference materials. 

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 

United States. National Park Service. 
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North 
Carolina and Tennessee. 
(National park handbook; 112) 
Includes index. 

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (N.C. and 
Tenn.) I. Title. II. Series: Handbook (United States. 
National Park Service. Division of Publications); 112. 
F443.G7U63 1981 976.8'89 81-11320 

AACR2 



Contents 




Part 1 Welcome to the Great Smokies 4 

Part 2 The Nature of Things in the Highlands 22 

By Napier Shelton 

A One-day Walk to Maine 25 

The Trout's World 39 

The Evolution of Abundance 53 

Bears, Boars and Acorns 67 

The Tracks of Our Predecessors 79 

Part 3 Guide and Adviser 98 

Topical Reference 101 
Park Map 102 

Index 126 



iv****" 



- ^.' 






rwa - 



m 









" - ' s 















<•■ MBH 



:~—. i-», 



i=ri'.^>--:-. 












- 




. ■ 



■ ,;':;^ , ;1 






9fiff> 






'-'-'.: 5 " 



. 







" "'■<:■- 



g^h^-t 



^tl 



.*r 




'ft)a,V 



The Appalachians at 
Their Best 



At first glimpse there appear to be two Smokies: the 
mountains' wild nature, and the folk life. The mind calls 
up both the sweeping mountain vistas whose peaks suc- 
ceed peaks to the far horizon and the rustic cabins and 
barns set off with the split rail fences of 19th-century 
mountain life. The mountains are everywhere, punc- 
tuated by restored settlements, by Cades Cove, Mingus 
Mill, Cataloochee, and Little Greenbrier. But this is not 
the full story for there are many, many Great Smokies, a 
double fistful of which may be just for you. There are as 
many Great Smokies as there are people who come here 
intent on discovering their secrets: the folklorist's and 
amateur historian's Smokies; the trout angler's Smokies; 
the Smokies of the backpacker, day-tripper, and trail 
walker; the botanist's, ecologist's, and birder's Smokies; 
and the automobile tourist's Smokies. Take your pick. 

You can walk into the Smokies, into the heart of the 
wilderness. You can drive through the Smokies, through 
the jewels in the crown of the Appalachian highlands. 
You can enter them through North Carolina or through 
Tennessee. But you can also enter them through any 
strong interest you may have, for there are as many 
Smokies as there are ways you can see them. And one 
good way to see them is through the eyes of a native son 
whose love for these mountains is exceeded only by his 
love for people. Such is Glenn Cardwell. 

Glenn Cardwell took his aging mother and father 
down to the Noah "Bud" Ogle cabin just after the National 
Park Service finished restoring it. Glenn works for the 
park and would conduct nature walks at the cabin, so he 
wanted to see what his folks would say. They used to live 
nearby and his mother's Aunt Cindy and her husband, 
Noah, built the cabin just off Cherokee Orchard Road 
out of Gatlinburg. 

"Well I'll tell you," Glenn said, "my mother got to 
reminiscing not one step off the parking lot and stopped 
at every rock and spot in the yard and told a tale. It 
must've taken the better part of an hour just to get her 
through the yard and down to the porch." 

Glenn's mother took one look at the porch and said, 
"They put the step |a big flat rock| in the wrong place." 
And so the restoration team had . . . but it was another 



Here in the East 's wettest corner, 
winter snows release moisture 
slowly into the ground until 
spring thaw swells streams to rush 
downslope. The ultimate destina- 
tion? The Gulf of Mexico. Pre- 
ceding pages: A rustic Cades 
Cove cabin preserves the spirit 
of pioneer life and times. 
Cover photo: Sunrise from Mt. 
LeConte, Great Smoky Moun- 
tains National Park. 



rock that bothered Mrs. Cardwell most. 

Walking back to the car she stopped dead in her 
tracks and said despairingly, "What have they done to 
Cindy's rock?" 

Glenn had no idea what she meant although he could 
see the road cut close to a big boulder. The road had 
been relocated but Glenn recalled nothing unusual about 
the rock. 

His mother, still staring, repeated her question. Glenn's 
father shrugged, "Looks to me like somebody blowed 
hell out of it." 

"I still couldn't figure out what was bothering my 
mother," Glenn said. 

But now, in the 1980s, he will tell you that everyone in 
the Smokies had scaffolds in their yards back in Aunt 
Cindy's day for drying fruits and vegetables for winter 
storage. Everyone, that is, but Aunt Cindy. She used the 
big boulder across from their cabin, or what used to be 
the flat part of it. Many's the time Glenn's mother, as a 
little girl, helped Aunt Cindy spread produce to sun dry 
on the rock. 

Glenn Cardwell is an affable walking encyclopedia of 
Smokies life at the time the Smokies changed from a 
piece of Tennessee and North Carolina real estate into 
our second national park in the East. Stories such as 
Glenn's— and there are many— supply a compelling human 
resonance to this wilderness land. Glenn's enthusiasm is 
a bit unusual, because his father was bought out twice by 
the Federal government as lands were being acquired for 
the park. And each buy-out meant an unplanned relocation 
for the family, moving and building anew. 

"I think if my mother hadn't had me on the way at the 
time of the first buy-out," Glenn said, "my father would 
have pulled up stakes and gone back to Cumberland, 
Virginia, like many, many of our other relatives did." But 
the Cardwells stayed on near the park and Glenn embodies 
a transition, bridging new and old ways of doing and 
seeing things here. His father was bitter at first, but when 
he visited the Noah "Bud" Ogle Cabin years later he 
admitted he was glad the park had come along so that 
some things remained unchanged. It was nice, he said, 
that he and others could still see the land as it had been. 

The Great Smokies represented a new direction in 
national park policy in the 1920s. The eighteen national 
parks then in existence in the West had been created 
from lands already owned by the Federal government. 
The Smokies lands authorized for park purchase begin- 



8 



ning in 1926 were all in private ownership in more than 
6,600 tracts. The lion's share was owned by eighteen 
timber and pulpwood companies, but 1,200 other tracts 
were farms. Worse, there were also more than 5,000 lots 
and summer homes. Many of these had been won in 
promotion schemes and their owners had never bothered 
to pay taxes on them. This created an awesome land 
acquisition headache. 

The Federal government would not purchase land for 
national parks in those days, so in 1927 the Tennessee 
and North Carolina legislatures each provided for appro- 
priation of $2 million to purchase the land. Already, $1 
million had been pledged. The legislation also created 
State Park Commissions in each state to handle the 
buying. The John D. Rockefeller family supplemented 
the fund drive with a $5 million donation. This was 
considered one of the biggest and most important accom- 
plishments of the entire national park movement. The 
two states eventually purchased the needed lands and 
donated them to the Federal government. 

Ten years of dogged, full-scale activity and several 
more years of tying up loose ends were required to get the 
acquisition job done. Despite this tremendous impact of 
human land use in the Smokies, however, about forty 
percent of the park's 209,000 hectares (517,000 acres) 
constitutes the East's most extensive virgin forest. Forest 
recovery is now well underway throughout the park 
despite the former blight left by logging and subsequent 
forest fires, and landslides, and other forms of erosion. 

At one time no sharp edge separated two aspects of 
nature in the Great Smokies: man and the wilderness. 
Cherokee Indians lived here in ways ironically similar to 
those of the whites who would soon displace them. They 
cultivated crops, hunted, believed in one god, practiced 
a democratic form of government, and lived not in 
teepees but in mud-and-log structures. "The place of 
blue smoke," Shaconage , they called this mountain hunt- 
ing ground. And here amidst the haze lived also the spirit 
of their people; it, too, could not be divorced from the 
land itself . Treaty after treaty saw the Cherokees lose 
more and more homeland, up to and finally including the 
Smokies. In one of the great human tragedies that blots 
American history they were forcibly removed westward, 
"relocated" to Oklahoma via the "Trail of Tears." One 
fourth of the people died along the way. A few Chero- 
kees had resisted removal, staying behind in small groups 
and hiding out in the mountains. Troops could not relocate 



Next two pages: A contented 
cow lends realism to the recon- 
structed Pioneer Farmstead, 
next to Oconaluftee Visitor 
Center. Pages 12-13: Mt. 
LeConte is the park 's third 
highest peak, following Mt. 
Guyot and Clingmans Dome, 
the highest. Smokies rocks are 
among the continent 's oldest 
sediments. The ranges have 
survived 200 million years of 
erosion. By contrast, the Sierra 
Nevada is thought to be only 1 
million vears old. 




-^ ■*••*■• >»■*■ -„ «T»*s v - ■*» wtF 1 j.i-rf^ ■ 






I 1 1 



■ 






•t?#/^jg,s * I 



















**> 



00^ : . 



ymt 






'A 



If!*** 



35^-.: 













■** ** wip'V-* '■■•*- 



* * 

£ - 






&••' 







Preceding pages: First things first! 
A rain-geared backpacker makes 
sure her feet are protected against 
blisters. The park offers more 
than 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) 
of trails, including 110 kilometers 
(70 miles) of the Appalachian 
Trail that stretches from Maine 
to Georgia. 



them because they couldn't locate them. Later the Cher- 
okee s were allowed to return and reclaim the borders 
of their old homeland. They live there today on the 
Cherokee Reservation. 

It is difficult now to appreciate the pressure once 
exerted on the Appalachian highlands by human settle- 
ment. Back when land meant livelihood to a nation of 
agrarian people, the gradual pressure from the eastern 
coast, across the Piedmont, reached the Appalachian 
chain. The shortage of arable lands forced people into 
and finally onto the mountains in search of a plot of 
ground that would produce a livelihood. And so settle- 
ment came to the Great Smokies, gradually working its 
way up the mountainsides to the limits of cultivation. 
Grazing was eventually pushed beyond those limits all the 
way up the mountain to the balds. Combined overgrazing, 
overfishing, destructive logging practices, and overhunting 
would soon turn dense wilderness into a ravaged land- 
scape. The National Park was authorized in 1926, estab- 
lished for protection in 1930, and established for devel- 
opment in 1934. And now, about 50 years later, wilderness 
is again in ascendancy, as field naturalist Napier Shelton 
amply testifies as he takes you exploring in Part Two of 
this handbook. 

The wilderness richness here is both astounding and 
close at hand. Richness? There are more species of 
salamanders here— 22— than in any other part of the 
world. In the lush density of the Smokies forests there 
are more tree species than in all of Northern Europe. It is 
thought that this sheer density of forest cover and its 
attendant transpiration help account for the "misty" char- 
acter for which the Great Smoky Mountains are named. 

This forest richness continues to unfold for present-day 
biologists, as the recent discovery of the paper birch in 
the Smokies attests. It had long been held that this 
northern species did not occur in Tennessee. Its range 
generally swings southward into New Jersey and then 
simply jumps along the Appalachians, appearing here 
and there as elevation and other conditions simulate 
northerly climes. 

Peter White, plant ecologist with the National Park 
Service's Uplands Biological Field Research Laboratory 
in the Smokies, discovered several of the trees one day 
when he went out to verify a paper birch sighted by three 
North Carolina graduate students two years before. "It 
was located on a manway or unmaintained trail," White 
said, "right on the trail, one of the steepest in the park. So 



16 



if you knew what you were looking for there was no 
missing it. Actually what we have here in the Smokies is 
called the mountain paper birch, which may or may not 
be a different species than the classic white birch which 
would be called the true or typical paper birch." 

White is fascinated with unusual plant occurrences. A 
major passion of his here in the Smokies is to track down 
the mystery of the circumpolar twinflower, Linnaea, 
collected from "the mountains of Sevier County in 
Tennessee' 1 by amateur botanist Albert Ruth in 1891. 
This is the only report of the plant south of certain bogs 
in West Virginia, and White hopes to verify it. 

"Ruth misidentified this Linnaea as partridgeberry and 
it wasn't known about until 1934, when it came to the 
University of Tennessee with the Ruth Collection from 
Texas," White said. "Jack Sharp at the university recog- 
nized its true identity and its significance." 

The Ruth Collection came to Tennessee because the 
university's plant herbarium was destroyed by fire in the 
1920s and the university sought to build it up again. The 
twinflower was discovered by the great botanist Carl 
Linnaeus in Finland and named for him by a friend. It 
occurs from Eurasia to North America as a northern 
species, hence the "circumpolar" description. 

"There are pluses and minuses to believing the plant 
came from here," White explained. "Ruth was a careful 
field botanist with a good eye, and many plants are 
named for him. He collected many species for the first 
time. But we also know from his collections that some of 
his labels are vague." 

White's quest for the elusive twinflower growing far 
south of its normal range symbolizes an aspect of the 
Smokies. The park has been designated an International 
Biosphere Reserve. As one writer put it: All the world of 
ecology comes to the Great Smokies . . . Scientists and 
students come to observe the richness and density of life 
forms; the misplaced species; the dramatic impacts of 
catastrophic landslides and fire scars; and the unknowns, 
those tantalizing areas of knowledge still withholding 
their secrets despite careful scrutiny. What really hap- 
pened here during the glacial periods? Where were the 
trees then? How much forest burning did Cherokees 
use for game and vegetation management purposes be- 
fore Europeans came? Speculations aside, what is the 
true story behind grassy balds? What are the seasonal 
migration patterns of the j uncos that stay in the park 
year-round? These remain questions stirring the expert 



Next two pages: Abundant cas- 
cades and inviting waterfalls greet 
you in the Smokies. Their sprays 
often water luxuriant mosses and 
make ideal habitat for the 
Smokies ' surprising number of 
salamanders and aquatic insects. 



17 





' . ■:-■> : •■ . 

. --■ - 1 X ■■ i 



l^*i/r 3sfe3Wfaji 



1. 
- 









- > 




'- 






''%>< / ^ : : 



■ ' 



and amateur alike to earnest inquiry. 

Perhaps you may come to make one of these ques- 
tions your own. Nature, it turns out, is an unfolding 
process. It is a continuous coping, albeit gradual, with 
change, so that our knowledge always remains limited 
and there is ever much more to learn. If you have ques- 
tions, do feel free to ask them. Ask them of a ranger, a 
naturalist, or the people behind the counters at the visi- 
tor centers. But the more closely you observe the nature 
of things here in the Smokies, the more likely your ques- 
tions will be to draw a blank. Don't be disappointed by 
this. Be encouraged: your question without an answer, 
should you pursue it, might hold the key to understand- 
ing some facet of the natural world tomorrow. But you 
will have to look at the Smokies, really look with honest 
and inquiring eyes, to stump the likes of Glenn Cardwell 
and Peter White or any number of other people you 
might meet here in the park. 

All questions aside, however, one thing is certain: 
millions have come here in pursuit of recreation and 
gone away fully satisfied, to return again and again. 
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a great place 
to do things, things we describe in Part Three of this 
handbook, your "Guide and Adviser." May ^om return 
again and again. 



Don 't let the glorious mountain 
vistas distract you from the beauty 
at your feet. The park boasts 
more than 2,000 species of mush- 
rooms. They are conspicuous be- 
cause abundant moisture may 
encourage them to fruit several 
times a year. 



21 






*^\ 



ttr 



J 



ft 









^'^-"S; 



aw " J5*s 









sfc*- 



^F 



V- ■'' ' ' ■ 









r 



"\ 






4* 










» 




<?!>. 




Hfe ■;• 



t »_• 



i : ^^^t, * •> " -s 



!&>' 



JB&TV2M 



— ^WJ. - 



a»?a* 






*K Jfh' 



ti/GSki 






~'**jgs^ 






**€i 



'-**•*)., 



X^'**,. 
'^-- 

.*"~».- .-.» 



§£» 



A(fi»J? 



^ 



m 

■ ■ ■ \ 



V 



-V^ 



..•.•■ F 



A One-day Walk 
to Maine 

Every spring a number of enterprising people set out to 
walk more than 3,000 kilometers (2,000 miles) on the 
Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Those who 
finish typically arrive some four months later. You can 
experience nearly the same thing— in terms of the natu- 
ral history and particularly forest cover— in a single day 
by hiking from the lowlands to the crest of the Smokies. 
Because of the climatic change accompanying this gain 
in altitude, as much as 1,500 meters (5,000 feet), such a 
walk can take you, as it were, through the oak and pine 
forests of northern Georgia, the oak-hickory forests of 
central Virginia, the northern hardwoods of Massachu- 
setts, and into the spruce-fir forests of Maine and Cana- 
da. And along the way you get many glimpses of the 
natural processes that shape and control the national 
park's marvelous assemblage of life. 

If you're not quite ready for such a long, hard climb, 
why not join me for an armchair ascent of the moun- 
tains? 

It's early on a summer morning and the sky is clear, 
but knowing the frequency of rain in the Smokies, we 
tuck ponchos into our packs. As our boots crunch 
pleasantly on the gravel of an old mountain road, we 
listen to the neighboring stream and look at the forested 
hollow it drains. Just a few decades ago farm children 
played in the stream, and cornfields bordered the road. 
Now we can enjoy the stream in the shade of yellow- 
poplar trees that now stand thick and straight where the 
grain once did. 

Around a bend the stream gradient steepens and so 
does the road. We are still in young forest; here it grows 
where cattle formerly grazed or lumbermen felled its 
giant ancestors. For some time we labor upwards, the 
road becoming a trail and a few big trees appearing along 
the tumbling creek. Then, rather suddenly, there is a 
striking difference in the environment. We have crossed 
the line into primeval forest, into territory where the 
axman has not been and most of the trees are big. This is 
Great Smokies virgin cove forest, a type unrivaled in the 
northern hemisphere for combined variety and size of 
trees. Here it is cool, shady, and moist. The tree trunks 
shoot high above into the canopy, which intercepts most 



For sheer numbers and diversity 
of trees and flowering plants, the 
park is a botanical showplaee. Its 
varied elevations telescope to- 
gether nearly all forest types 
found from Maine to Georgia. 
Hiker and motorist alike may see 
wildflowers from March through 
October. Preceding pages: Com- 
mon wood sorrel blooms in forest 
shade in spring and summer de- 
pending on elevation. One flower- 
ing shrub, the witch hazel, blooms 
in fall and early winter. 



25 



of the sunlight and seems to enclose us in a private world. 
The ground around us is covered with the greenery of 
small plants. We hear bird songs but cannot see the 
singers. 

The peace and grandeur of the forest are interrupted 
by a slight movement off to our right. In the leaves 
beneath a large, rotting log a tiny shrew restlessly sniffs 
with its long nose. It moves in short thrusts through the 
dead leaves, searching with a fierce intensity for worms, 
crickets, or any animal small enough to overcome. Impelled 
by hunger, this normally nocturnal animal has been 
emboldened by the shadiness to venture into the cove 
forest's subdued daylight. The shrew is just one infinites- 
imal part of the great forest, in which thousands of living 
things seek the energy and nutrients needed for survival. 
The shrew hunts, as it were, a fragment of the sun's 
energy, transmitted through plants and then through the 
small plant-eating creatures that it preys upon. 

Crossing a log bridge below a waterfall, we see fish 
darting under boulders. Spray from the falls drifts over us 
and onto the dark thickets of rhododendron crowding 
the stream banks. We try to keep the cool water in our 
minds as we start up the long switchbacks ascending the 
valley's south-facing slope. Trees of the cove forest, buck- 
eye, hemlock, sugar maple, and their many associates, 
gradually become scarcer, and oaks and hickories become 
the dominant trees. Halfway up the slope we have climbed 
from coolness into warmth. Here in the more open oak 
forest, the sun beams down through the foliage, heating 
the ground and air. 

A few gulps from the canteen and we can face the last 
switchbacks up the slope and onto a sunstruck, rocky 
ridge. The sun has real authority here. Winding more 
gradually upward along this ridge, the trail now takes us 
beneath pines, trees that are adapted to such hot, dry 
situations. If it weren't for the trail, we would have a 
tough time making our way through the thickets of 
mountain-laurel spread beneath the scattered pines. A 
towhee, lover of such thickets, calls its name as we pass. 
In one stretch we go through a brown patch of dead 
pines. After several mild winters, southern pine beetles 
have multiplied and feasted here. If the next winter is not 
cold enough to kill most of the beetle larvae, the patch of 
dead pines may increase greatly in size. 

The trail now slants off onto the north side of the 
ridge. Right away the air is somewhat cooler here where 
part of the day the ridgetop shields it from the sun. The 



26 



pines quickly disappear, and beeches, yellow birches, 
maples, and buckeyes form the forest. You New Englanders 
should now feel quite at home, among these tree species 
that accompany us all the way across the mountain's 
north and east flank. Then, as we approach the 1 ,500-meter 
(5,000-foot) level, the dark spires of scattered spruces 
begin to appear, signaling the nearness of the Smokies' 
crowning forest. 

But before we make the final ascent, let's take a short 
detour to a nearby knob, which promises a spectacular 
view, a welcome visual release after being shut in so long 
by foliage. Going up the side of the knob, we quickly 
leave the forest and begin tunneling through dense thick- 
ets of rhododendron and mountain-laurel. Trees don't 
grow here at all. On top, the shrubs become smaller and 
we can look out over them. Perched on the end of a 
spur from the side of a giant valley, we look up to high 
ridges on both sides and down to a stream far below. Is it 
our imagination, or do we really hear that stream whis- 
pering to us of the humid, secret world way down there 
under the big trees? For many minutes we are lost in 
contemplation of the Smokies' green-blue spaces. 

The crack of thunder suddenly wakens us from our 
reverie. A bank of clouds, dark underneath and con- 
torted with churning air, is rolling over the ridges and 
into the head of the valley. The clouds shoot lightning 
toward the slopes below. Hypnotized by the spectacle 
we remain rooted to our rocks until the first drops fall, 
then we pull on our ponchos, determined to greet the 
storm. Soon the valley view is blotted out by boiling 
clouds. We and a circle of shrubs, both whipped by rain 
and wind, are all that exist in the world. Our foolhardi- 
ness on this exposed knob is soon revealed as lightning 
flashes so near that its crackling sound is almost instan- 
taneous. We hurry down the trail, now a small torrent 
where it tunnels through the rhododendrons, and in a 
few minutes we reach safer ground. We eat our lunch 
under sheltering hemlocks. When we sense the end of 
the storm, we head toward our day's goal, the top of the 
Smokies. The deciduous forest rapidly turns into a 
coniferous one, the beech, birch, maple, buckeye, and 
others giving way to a nearly solid stand of spruce and fir. 
This is an enchanted forest. Carpets of mosses and ferns, 
struggling, as it were, for growing space, make delicate 
patterns on the forest floor. Limber-stemmed shrubs lift 
round or toothed leaves to the pale, post-storm light 
filtering through the thick evergreen foliage of the trees 



27 



above. Out of the stillness, like the voice of some tiny 
fairy, comes the tinkling medley of a winter wren. We 
stop and listen. We watch a drop of water fall from the 
tip of a fern. We feel the coolness, a coolness born of 
altitude. We have reached Maine right here in the Smokies. 

A short distance beyond, the trail breaks out onto the 
top of a cliff, opening to us the whole breadth of the 
mountains. This is our final reward; and as we sit here we 
see, without knowing it, a summary of our day's experi- 
ence. We see landslide scars on the mountainside that 
probably came during a storm like the one we just 
experienced, when the earth, heavy with water and lying 
thinly over the smooth rock beneath, could no longer 
hang on and slipped in a crashing avalanche down the 
slope; like the pine beetle, landslides are one of the many 
natural forces that challenge the forest's powers of recu- 
peration. Chimney swifts pick insects from the air and 
we hear the chatter of a red squirrel interrupted in its 
hunt for cones. Like the shrew, each in its own special 
way is busy gaining the fuel to stay alive. Each, through 
its interaction with plants and animals, affects the total 
fabric of Smokies life. Far below, the trees of a cove 
forest march up a stream valley; on the slopes above 
them spreads a mantle of oaks. A narrow ridge far down 
and off to the right bears the dark green of pines. Nearer, 
we see the ragged lower edge of the spruce-fir forest, 
where it fingers into the northern hardwoods below it. 
But we sense an overall unity because each kind of 
forest merges into the next, creating an unbroken mantle 
that lies over all the ridges as far as the eye can see. 

There is no true alpine tundra in the Smokies, such 
as we might find atop certain mountains in New York 
and New England and atop many mountains in the West. 
But alpine experiences aplenty await us here for the 
climbing. They can be had on ridges, peaks, and, even 
pinnacles, from atop which we gaze out over a forested 
sea of peaks. It is a rare reminder of the mantle of 
forest that once lay unbroken over the eastern United 
States. It is often said that when Europeans first 
encountered America, a squirrel could walk from the 
Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi without touching the 
ground! 

Clouds drift over the mountain waves. Like the clouds 
of many yesterdays, they have dropped their burden of 
excess moisture on the forests, maintaining the wetness 
that encourages the lush plant growth of the Smokies. 
Then, through a break in the clouds, the sun finally 



28 



shines, sending renewed charges of energy into the forest 
and ultimately through all the life of the forest. Much of 
the pattern of forest types is determined by the way the 
sun's rays strike the mountain slopes. Through changes 
in its daily duration and height in the sky the sun makes 
the seasons. Through its powers to evaporate ocean 
water and provide the energy that moves air, it can even 
be said to bring the rain itself. 



29 



Georgia to Maine, Straight Up 



A hike from Cades Cove to Cling- 
mans Dome simulates walking 
from North Georgia to Maine. 
You will begin in Cades Cove 
amidst oak and pine forests 
which also grow in northern 
Georgia. Your walk will end atop 
Ciingmans Dome in spruce-fir 
forests characteristic of Maine 
and Canada. In between you will 
hike beneath the canopies of oak- 
hickory-red maple forests that 
characterize Virginia, and the 
northern hardwoods of Massa- 
chusetts. The reason for this lo- 



calized insight into the whole of 
the eastern United States forest 
types is the vertical rise of the 
Great Smoky Mountains. The 
Smokies' highest peaks stand 
1,500 meters (5,000 feet) above 
its lowlands. 

The axiom is this: here in the 
Smokies, elevation gain simulates 
a shift to more northerly latitudes. 
Of course, this is a generalization. 
On an actual hike from Cades 
Cove to Ciingmans Dome you 
would have to detour a lot to take 



in all the variety of eastern U.S, 
forest types. But all except true 
alpine tundra are here, although 
not laid out in a straight line. 

In rough attempts to measure the 
Smokies' local climates, the rule 
of thumb is that spring advances 
up the mountains. At lower ele- 
vations, for example, spring 
beauty blooms by early March. 
At 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) ele- 
vation, however, it may still be in 
full bloom two to three months 
later. 




£"*>*■■■ 






«*. 



':' K'Xi£.. 







Remarkably, the Smokies pro- 
vide a plant laboratory encom- 
passing most of the eastern U.S. 
major forest vegetation types. 
This, and the fact that virgin 
forests are rare in the East, make 
it no wonder that the Great 
Smoky Mountains National Park 
has been designated an Interna- 
tional Biosphere Reserve. 

This international recognition of 
and commitment to preserving 
the Smokies underscores the 
park's wealth of natural history. 



You need not be an expert to 
observe this. Sharp eyes and 
curiosity will in themselves unfold 
great portions of this natural 
history lore for you to ponder. 




!.»■;*£? 






7&W 



&, . ■:- _M* ■'- 



■%&&'■? 



JfrJMfc' 



:• :■<■■: n 



Jin - ■ . • ^ 



In the first low reaches of your 
one-day trip from Georgia to 
Maine here in the Smokies, 
crossvine, grapevine, or lady's- 
slipper (photo) may be bloom- 
ing. These flowers, like the Vir- 
ginia, pitch, and shortleaf pines, 



cling to the warmest local cli- 
mates. They also follow the 
driest slopes and ridges only 
part way up the mountains. As 
you gain elevation you quickly 
leave these species behind. 



The contrast between your low- 
lands trailhead and the 1 ,800 - 
meter (6,000-foot) summit is 
amazing. Even the chickadees 
change en route. The Carolina 
species holds forth down here in 
the cove, but gives way to the 
black-capped chickadee some- 



where around 1 ,500 meters 
(5,000 feet). The fence lizard is 
a dry, pine woods creature. Like 
the Carolina chickadee, it gener- 
ally avoids higher elevations. 





Ws 




Each animal and plant drops out 
at a different limit as you gain 
altitude, but more than half of 
your journey will be through 
deciduous forest, of the cove 
hardwood type or oak woodland. 
Smokies forests are rich: there 
are more tree species here than 
in all of Northern Europe. 




As you travel the lower forests 
you will probably hear the songs 
of the ovenbird, wood thrush, 
and pileated woodpecker, birds 
you would hear in mature tim- 
ber throughout the eastern 
United States. The gray squirrel 
and the box turtle (bottom 
photo), both familiar creatures, 
will be occasional trailside com- 
panions in these broad-leaved 
woodlands. The basswood tree 
(top photo) is considered an "in- 
dicator" of the cove hardwood 
forest type. The magnolias, with 
their oversize leaves, catch the 
eye of most people traveling 
south from, say, Pennsylvania, 



when they hit the Smokies. Al- 
most a natural "cultural shock," 
these trees announce that you 
have arrived in a different place. 
Magnificent magnolias appear 
along the trail, thinning in num- 
ber and decreasing in size as 
soon as you leave the cove. 




32 



Along streams and on the shaded 
slopes below 1 ,220 meters (4,000 
feet), look for rosebay rhodo- 
dendron (top photo), yellow 
buckeye (bottom right photo), 
basswood, yellow-poplar, and 
other cove hardwood "indica- 
tor" species. They signal that 
you still have a ways to go in 
your day's climb. On the cove 
forest floor in spring you may 
be lucky enough to spot the 
great white trillium (immediate 
right photo). It was popular after 
the Civil War for decorating 
graves and so has become, in 
many places, a scarce plant be- 
cause of this practice. It is pro- 



tected here in the national park, 
as are all plants, animals, his- 
toric structures, and archeolog- 
ical artifacts. Please respect 
these — and the right of others 
who follow you to enjoy them in 
their natural or historical 
setting. 





The red squirrel's raucous chat- 
ter—you can't believe such a 
small creature makes such a big 
racket— tells you that you are 
leaving the cove forest. The 
"boomer," as it is known lo- 
cally, will likely announce your 
presence periodically to the 



whole forest from here clear to 
the top of the mountain. Farther 
north these red squirrels may be 
called pine squirrels; out west, 
chickarees. Some would argue 
over the species involved, but not 
over the noise they make! 




The songs of the winter wren and 
veery, a thrush, also signal that 
you have climbed above the cove 
now. But the northern bird of the 
mountains that excites us here is 
the raven. This resourceful bird, 
often mistaken for the smaller 
crow, eats anything small enough 



and drives away anything that's 
too big to eat. That's an exaggera- 
tion, but ravens are contemp- 
tuous even of hawks aloft in the 
same windstream. 




The spruce trees announce that 
you have gotten to Maine at last! 
The blackish coloration of spruce 
forests reaching here and there 
down off the crests of the Smokies 
is conspicuous in all seasons. It is 
from this coloration of spruce 
stands that the nearby Black 
Mountains of North Carolina are 
named. The spruce-fir forest is a 
product of winter cold and sum- 
mer rain in such a combination 
that prevents their invasion by 
deciduous trees just down-slope. 




33 





I Cove Hardwood Forest 










"Wl 






i*K 






•/^j 



"N 



V 






#Jl* *> £ V „ 









' .-"•aV*.i . 




55fe*3^ 
















*- 






Tit -^- 'J 

' ■AT**/* 






igs . *&> 



UT 1 






A degree of romance or mystique 
surrounds the cove hardwood 
forest. The name was used as 
early as 1905 in professional 
forestry literature, but was prob- 
ably coined much earlier, per- 
haps in the days of settlement. 

The coves share all of their pre- 
dominant trees with the neigh- 
boring plant communities, and 
no common animal or plant is re- 
stricted to cove forest. The key to 
its recognition is variety, particu- 
larly in the make-up of the cano- 
py, the name given to the roof 
level of any woodland. Cove for- 
est is not restricted literally to 
topographic flats and hollows; it 
may also occur on steep slopes, 
where soil moisture conditions 
are suitable. 

In its best development, cove 
forest may sustain 20-25 tree 
species tangling branches far 
overhead. Look for white ash, 
sugar maple, magnolia, Ameri- 
can beech, silverbell, and bass- 
wood. If most of these are pre- 
sent, with or without buckeye, 
holly, yellow birch, and hemlock, 
you are being treated to cove 
hardwood scenery. 

Oaks, hickories, red maple and 
yellow-poplar (tulip tree) will also 
be present, but these widespread 



species are not really useful in 
settling the question. One often 
workable rule of thumb is the 
presence of yellow-wood, but this 
small tree is absent from the cove 
hardwood forest community in 
many parts of the park. 

Many of today's typical cove 
hardwood trees have also been 
found as fossils in rocks of 
Cretaceous age in the eastern 
United States. This match up— 
and the recognition that the 
southern mountains have been 
continuously available for land 
plant growth since Dinosaur 
Days— has given plant geog- 
raphers much food for thought. 
Cove forest is now plausibly re- 
garded as a very ancient mixture 
of species. Probably, it was the 
ancestor of several other wide- 
spread forest communities. Per- 
haps it was the haven of refuge 
sought by many plants and ani- 
mals during the Pleistocene 
glacial period. Its significance 
today is its wealth of species com- 
position and its heritage— millions 
of years of forest evolution. We 
are fortunate that significant 
stands of this forest type sur- 
vive uncut in the Great Smoky 
Mountains. 

A great benefit of these rich, lush 
forests for hikers is the refresh- 



ing coolness they afford on hot 
summer days. Many people have 
described them as "green cathe- 
drals" because of the coolness, 
rest, and peace they seem to 
engender. 






When the yellow-poplar seeds 
into an abandoned farm field it 
means that the field could even- 
tually become a cove forest. But 
the yellow-poplar needs the 
company of a dozen other species 
to form true cove forest. 



The yellow-poplar grows fast 
and straight. Its bark has white- 
sided ridges. 



Cove forest has less moss cover 
than the spruce-fir forest, but it 
boasts more kinds of mosses. The 
abundance of trees, flowers, and 
lower plants is produced by ideal 
moisture and a temperate climate. 



35 



Forest Openings: The Balds 




Most mountains show mosaic 
patterns of vegetation notice- 
able at a distance, or on scenic 
postcards. In the Smokies high 
country this zoning is conspicu- 
ous. These mountains rival the 
Rockies for all such contrasts, 
except for naked rock above 
timberline. 

There is no climatic treeline— 
roughly an elevation above which 
trees cannot survive— in the 
Smokies. But two important tree- 
less communities, called "balds" 
by the early settlers, give this 
above-timber effect here. 

The baldness is not that of bare 
rock, but rather a mountain-top 
interruption to the forest cover. 
The two types, grass balds and 
heath balds, are alike only in 
appearance from a distance, and 
in their preference for mountain 
summits. 

The Cherokee s wove the balds 
into their religion and folk- 
lore. Mountaineers grazed stock 
on the grass balds and cursed the 
heath balds as "slicks" or "hells." 
Botanists began to publish ex- 
planations for these balds a 
century ago but you can still for- 
mulate your own theory because 
there are no agreed-upon an- 
swers. The more careful the 



study, the more puzzles arise. But 
the key in both cases seems to be 
disturbance, the successive 
destruction of generations of tree 
seedlings. 

For heath balds the most obvious 
tree-killing agent is fire and so fire 
was advanced as an explanation 
for their origin. Shrubs can burn 
to the ground and grow back 
quickly, sprouting from their 
roots. Mountain laurel, rhodo- 
dendron, blueberry, huckleberry, 
and sand myrtle all do this. It was 
theorized that where fire knocks 
out the tree layer, there are the 
heath balds. But the rub is that 
some balds show no signs of fire 
and yet are not nursing young 
trees. 

Landslides eliminate trees, and 
winter winds may also discourage 
tree growth. Heath balds per- 
severe where slopes are steep, 
soil is peaty and acidic, and the 
elevation tops 1,200 meters 
(4,000 feet). 

Today the grass balds are a mo- 
saic of shrubs, grasses, and young 
trees. Open patches may be clear- 
ly dominated by grasses but the 
total number of plant species pre- 
sent on grass balds is greater 
than the number present on 
heath balds. 



Explanations of the origin of grass 
balds have been much debated 
but no theory has been accepted 
for them all. We do know that 
most grass balds were used as 
high elevation pastures in the 
1800s and early 1900s, and when 
the park was established the 
grass balds were more open than 
today. Most Southern Appala- 
chian grass balds are being 
quickly invaded by trees and 
shrubs. The National Park Ser- 
vice is developing plans to keep 
two Smokies balds open. Despite 
their appearance, grassy balds 
have no floristic relation to true 
alpine or arctic tundra vegetation. 




The sundew, a bog plant com- 
mon in the far North, persists on 
one grass bald, near a spring. 
What look like dew droplets are 
actually gluey traps for insects, 
which this carnivorous plant kills 
and absorbs. 




Flame azalea thrives on grassy 
balds. At Gregory Bald it hybrid- 
izes with other azaleas, produc- 
ing an array of colored flowers 
that botanists call a "hybrid 
swarm." 




When settlers grazed stock on the 
grass balds, many common weeds 
such as dandelions were intro- 
duced. Before settlement deer 
and elk probably grazed here, 
and may have helped keep out 
encroaching trees. 



37 



The Trout's World 



The rays of the early morning sun bombard the tops of 
the trees spread above the headwaters of Forney Creek. 
Some penetrate the canopy to make light patches in the 
lower layers of the forest. But few break through the 
rhododendron thickets along the stream to illuminate its 
mossy rocks, its foam, and its clear pools. Down in the 
darkness beneath overhanging shrubs, hanging in the 
current near the bottom of a pool, a brook trout waits for 
the stream to bring it food. With dark mottling along its 
back, red spots on its olive sides, and pale orange edging 
on its lower fins, the fish is beautiful. It is also small, 
about 18 centimeters (7 inches) long, and lean, for it lives 
in a harsh environment where food is scarce, the water is 
cold and acidic, and floods and thick ice can scour. This 
is one of only a few trout in the pool because there is not 
enough food for many. 

The trout fed little during the night and now its hunger 
is acute. Carefully it watches the rippling surface for 
insects, spiders, crayfish, salamanders, and worms, or 
any animal life caught and carried down by the current. 
But nothing appears. It noses up to a rock where earlier 
in the summer it had found caddisfly larvae fastened in 
their tubular little cases made of tiny pebbles. Now none 
are left on the surface of the rock accessible to the trout. 
It searches other rocks and eventually finds one caddisfly 
larva and a small mayfly nymph, flattened against the 
under side. The trout dashes at a small salamander, 
which escapes under another rock. Three crayfish also 
inhabit the pool but they are too big for this particular 
trout to eat. 

The trout's hunger increases and still nothing edible 
washes over the miniature waterfall at the head of the 
pool. But suddenly sand and gravel begin dropping in 
and there is a pulsing in the flow of water. Upstream a 
bear has crossed and in its crossing it has knocked a 
beetle off an overhanging branch. The beetle floats down 
one little cataract after another, its legs kicking wildly 
and its wet wings vainly buzzing. There is a splash as the 
trout strikes. The beetle will sustain it through one more 
day. 

In contrast to the brook trout's life in the headwaters, 
the rainbow trout would appear to have an easier time in 



The presence of trout somehow 
symbolizes wild nature and pris- 
tine beauty. Pools such as this one 
at the foot of Grotto Falls on 
Roaring Fork, are quiet forest 
gems that cause the finger of many 
an angler to twitch uncontrollably. 



39 



the lower reaches of park streams. Here the pools are 
larger, the stream gradient is less, the water is iess acidic, 
and nutrients are more abundant. These conditions allow 
more plant and animal life to exist, and therefore create 
more food for trout. Also, at these lower elevations, 
where the water is deeper, winter ice cannot form so 
solidly as higher up. These waters are not exactly teeming 
with aquatic life, but they are adequate for rainbow 
trout. 

Trout do not generally remain active continuously. 
They tend to feed in the late afternoon, at night, and 
early in the morning, resting at the bottom of a pool 
during midday. Both brook and rainbow trout will have 
resting sites, day and night, and feeding sites. 

A favored feeding site is often the head of the pool, 
where a trout will have the first chance to seize insects or 
other organisms carried into the pool. It also has the 
option of hunting many of the forms of life that live in the 
stream with it: insect larvae and nymphs of many kinds, 
aquatic beetles and spiders, crayfish, leeches and worms, 
water-mites, snails, salamanders, tadpoles, and the smaller 
fish. 

Among the more common fishes that live in rainbow 
trout territory in low elevation, low gradient streams are 
sculpins, dace, hogsuckers, river chubs, shiners, and 
stonerollers. Hogsuckers, which reach 30 centimeters (a 
foot) or more in length, can be seen in many large, quiet 
pools. There they search for food on the bottom with 
their downward protruding lips. Dace and shiners, mem- 
bers of the minnow family, are very small fish and some 
species are brilliantly colored. The river chub and 
stoneroller, also minnows, are larger; the stoneroller 
occasionally reaches 28 centimeters (11 inches). Locally 
known as "hornyhead" and enjoyed as a food fish, the 
abundant stoneroller may limit the numbers of rainbow 
trout in some stretches of stream because of its own 
spawning activities. Rainbows lay their eggs on gravelly 
areas in early spring. A month or so later, before the 
trout eggs have hatched, stonerollers frequently build 
their nests in the same places, covering or scattering the 
trout eggs in the process. This sort of competition was 
probably not expected or considered when rainbows 
were introduced to the Smokies; nevertheless, the trout 
do manage to perpetuate themselves. 

No doubt the most peculiar creature in the lower 
sections of park streams is the hellbender, a huge, grayish 
salamander with a loose fold of skin along each side. 



40 



Commonly reaching 30 centimeters (a foot) and occa- 
sionally more than 60 centimeters (2 feet) in length, 
hellbenders hide under rocks and debris in swift water 
and feed on fish and other animals up to the size of 
crayfish. Below elevations of about 500 meters (1,600 
feet) smallmouth bass, rock bass, and brightly colored 
little darters appear in park waters. Brown trout, an 
introduced species that has apparently entered the park 
from farther downstream, live in the lower sections of 
some streams, and may be found in the headwaters of 
some streams. Of the three species of trout in the Smokies, 
browns generally prove most difficult to catch. 

Since early in this century when rainbow trout were 
introduced, and possibly even before, brook trout have 
been retreating upstream in these mountains. In the late 
19th century, brook trout occurred as low as 500 meters 
(1,600 feet); now they are found mostly above 915 meters 
(3,000 feet). The effects of logging and competition from 
rainbows are the most frequently suggested reasons for 
this retreat. Logging, which began on a large scale in the 
Smokies about 1900, brought with it many fires. The 
resulting exposure to full sunlight caused the warming of 
low-elevation sections of streams. Erosion of the denuded 
land added heavy loads of sediment to the streams. 
These changed conditions, and possibly heavy fishing 
pressure, apparently speeded the disappearance of brook 
trout from the lower elevations. Rainbows were intro- 
duced and proved able to survive. In the '20s and '30s it 
was noted that rainbows occurred in streams up to about 
the upper limit of logging, and that brook trout occupied 
streams above that point. Now, however, streams are 
once again shaded by forests their full length; but brook 
trout, instead of moving back down, seem to have retreated 
higher upstream. It appears that the larger, more aggres- 
sive rainbows somehow prevent brook trout from re- 
occupying their lost waters. 

The National Park Service is concerned for the future 
of the Smokies' one species of native trout, and espe- 
cially for the few isolated populations of brookies that 
may still remain unmixed with populations of brook 
trout introduced from other parts of the country. On 
some streams, waterfalls provide effective barriers to the 
advance of rainbow trout, and use of artificial barriers 
for this purpose has been considered. Stringent fishing 
regulations may help the easily caught brook trout — and 
the gluttonous poaching that sometimes eliminates large 
numbers of brook trout from long stretches of a stream 



41 



must be stopped. This type of management problem, 
how to preserve native species and reduce the impact of 
exotic ones, is common in national parks. It is only one 
aspect of a larger problem: How do we maintain natural 
ecosystems in parks? This basic aspect of the national 
park idea is difficult to implement in a country where 
human influence is so ubiquitous. 

Quite a few animals of the Smokies depend on streams 
and their organisms without living entirely in them. 
They live with one foot in the water and one foot on land, 
as it were. Raccoons out hunting at night patrol streams, 
alert for frogs, crayfish, and mussels. Mink pursue fish, 
crayfish, and other animals underwater, flowing down- 
stream through the foam as effortlessly as water itself. 
Kingfishers perch on overhanging branches to plunge 
headfirst after small fish. Their loud, rattling calls can be 
heard on the lower courses of many streams. The small 
Louisiana waterthrush, a warbler, teeters on rocks in the 
torrent, searching for aquatic insects. It nests on stream 
banks or behind waterfalls. Its song, a lovely descending 
jumble of notes, cascades like the water of its haunts. 
Harmless water snakes, mottled brown somewhat like 
the water moccasin (which does not occur in the Smokies), 
like to sun on limbs or debris near the water. Frogs, fish, 
salamanders, and crayfish form most of their diet. Of the 
park's few species of frogs, the green frog is the one most 
likely to be found in streams. Aquatic turtles are even 
less common; most numerous is the snapping turtle, a 
wanderer that sometimes reaches the middle elevations 
in the park. 

Ducks, herons, and other large aquatic birds, scarce in 
the park because there are no large bodies of water, do 
appear occasionally. On the section of Abrams Creek 
that flows through Cades Cove you may surprise a wood 
duck or green heron. Though not very productive of 
plant food, Fontana Lake on the south border of the park 
sometimes serves as a resting place for migrating water- 
fowl. 

Perhaps we humans could be considered semi-aquatic 
ourselves, so strongly does water attract us. In the Smokies 
people love to visit waterfalls, plunge into favorite swim- 
ming holes, play among the rocks and white water, and 
fish up and down the streams. One of my favorite activi- 
ties is simple stream-watching. Just pick a sunny rock, sit 
down with your lunch, and watch. That's all there is to it. 
Trout will eventually grow bold enough to come out of 
hiding. Birds fly out of the dense forest to feed in the 



42 



sunlit shrubs along the stream. Butterflies wander down 
this open avenue, and dragonflies dart after winged prey. 
Sometimes the unusual happens. One fine October day 
as I was just finishing my sandwich, a little red squirrel 
appeared on the opposite shore, edged down a rock to 
the water, and plunged in. It drifted with the current and 
then scrambled out on a rock near me. A swimming 
squirrel I had never expected to see. 

In the Smokies you are seldom far from the sound of 
water. These tumbling streams— the Little Pigeon, the 
Oconaluftee, Roaring Fork, Hazel Creek, and all their 
many brothers— have voices as various as a hound dog's. 
They talk, murmur, shout, and sing, rising and falling in 
tone. Porters Creek once actually convinced me that 
people were talking and playing guitars on its bank. This 
is the soul music of the mountains. 



43 



Smokies Trout 



Brook (rout, or "spec," are a 
glimpse of nature at her best. 
Their colorful delicacy is a sharp 
contrast to the mountains' mass. 
The three-toned fins most easily 
distinguish it from other species 
while it swims. A mountaineer 
here once paid the local dentist 
200 trout— caught in a morning— 
for some dental work, as attested 
by account books. Park regula- 
tions now prohibit catching the 
brook trout because it has lost so 
much of its original territory 
that its numbers have been se- 
verely reduced. 





Brown trout, a European fish, has 
entered the park recently. It in- 
habits the park's lower waters, 
which provide the warmer, slow- 
er conditions it prefers. It will 
eat its own young as well as those 
of competing rainbow and brook 
trout. 




. »■- * 
% * * 




*** * v.i - 

•* A> *'"' **''# 



f 'J o 




Rainbow trout were introduced 
from the West during the logging 
era via milk cans to improve 
fishing. They are larger and more 
aggressive than brookies. 




../-.. 
-••;?• 



44 





The streams and rivers of the 
Smokies are famous for their 
purity. All who come to these 
mountains are impressed by the 
beauty of the waterways that 
have carved their way into the 
lush wilderness. More than 300 
streams flow throughout the park. 
To many of us these streams 
mean only one thing, trout. Actu- 
ally, more than 70 species of fish 
have been collected in the park, 
such as chubs, shiners, minnows, 
dace, catfish, suckers, sculpins, 
darters, and even lamprey. 

Trout live in fast-flowing water 
where their streamlined bodies 
enable them to maintain them- 



selves in the current, often close 
to the stream bottom. Brookies, 
especially, require such pure 
water that they are often con- 
sidered a clean water "index." 

This little creature is known as 
a mayfly, one of the five insects 
most widely imitated by artificial 
fly patterns. The imitations seek 
to simulate, as dry, wet, or nymph 
patterns, the insects' larval and 
adult stages and their aquatic 
habits. 



45 









■k m 



Male Adams 



Adams Variant 



Yellow Fornev Creek 




Dark Cahill 




Olive Caddis 




Leadwing Coachman 




Yellow Hammer (antique gold) 





Royal Wulff 






J 



Light Cahill 




Secret Weapon 




Yellow Hammer (peacock) 




Gold Ribbed Hare s Ear 



Muskrat Nymph 




Humpy or Guffus Bug 




Grev Hackle Peacock 




Yellow Wooly Worm 



P 



Light Cahill Nymph 




Tellico Nymph 



To riie up trout anglers just assert 
that one fly pattern is the best. 
But in fly fishing areas such as 
the Smokies, a few patterns inevita- 
bly emerge as favorites. Here as 
elsewhere, most artificial flies 
imitate five varieties of insects 
common to most waters: may- 
flies, caddisflies, stoneflies, 
alderflies, and ants. There are, in 
all, about 5,000 sorts of human- 
tied flies in existence. Does that 
sound overwhelming? Well, there 
are probably hundreds of thou- 
sands of varieties of insects 
which trout may feed upon at one 
time or another. The following 
advice will help you narrow your 
choice. 



QHead 
OWing 
©Body 
O Tail 
O Hackle 



Dry Flies Mayfly imitations: 
Light Cahill, Quill Gordon, Royal 
Coachman, Dark Hendrickson. 
Caddis imitations: Henryville 
Special. Ant imitations: Black 
Ant, Red Ant. 




A 









Wet Fly and Nymphs Black 
Woolly Worm, Hendrickson, 
Light Cahill, Hare's Ear, 
March Brown. 

Streamers Olive Mateuka, 
Muddler Minnow (imitates grass- 
hopper or sculpin). 

Watch out for low-hanging 
branches! 




Female Adams 





*%*7*W 



Choosing a pattern may chal- 
lenge today's trout angler in the 
Smokies, but choosing your bait 
does not. Fishing is confined to 
artificial lures only. No bait is 
allowed. Pictured here is Mrs. 
Clem Enloe. She was 84 years old 
and lived on Tight Run Branch 
when Joseph S. Hall took this 
photo. She was the last person — 
and the only one in her own day, 
in fact— allowed to use worms as 
bait in the park. She was also 
allowed to fish here any season of 
the year because she flat refused 
to obey the new park's newly- 
instituted fishing regulations. 
Park rangers didn't have the heart 
to throw the book at her. "I was 



told that if I took her a box of 
snuff, she would let me take her 
picture," photographer Hall said. 
That's the snuff in her blouse. 
Someone later suggested that the 
rangers should have tried snuff 
too. 

We ask that you, however, please 
follow all fishing regulations! 



47 



Logging 



"These are the heaviest and most 
beautiful hard-wood forests of 
the continent," read a 1901 report 
from President Theodore Roose- 
velt to Congress. Lumber entre- 
preneurs were impressed, and the 
little River watershed was sold 
that year for about $9.70 per 
hectare ($4.00 per acre)— all 
34,400 hectares (85,000 acres) of 
it! Throughout the Smokies, en- 
tire watersheds were staked off 
like mining claims. Largest of all 
was a timbered plot owned by the 
Champion Coated Paper Com- 



pany. It included Deep Creek, 
Greenbrier Cove, and the head- 
waters of the Oconaluftee 
River, 

Logging came to the Smokies on 
a large scale about 1900. Settlers 
had always cut trees here, but the 
lumber companies and their 
money and methods injected a 
major new element. Instead of a 
few oxen dragging heavy logs to 
mill, the lumber companies intro- 
duced railroads, steam loaders, 
and steam skiddfrs on the land- 




***it 



4 $ 




scape. As you drive from Elk- 
mont toward Townsend along 
the park road, you are driving 
atop the old railbed that was laid 
down by the Little River Logging 
Company. 






1 j 

•4 



\- 








m 




¥ -ti 




4m- 4m 







V* 



f -- *•- 



T&.l* 






^lyfes^^feis 



3- j«»T«*r 



■ 



■'■ -V 




was the most valuable wood, and 
most scarce. Tali, straight yellow- 
poplar turned out to be the most 
profitable because of its large 
volume. 



New towns sprang up: Elkmont, 
Crestmont, Proctor, Ravensford, 
and Smokemont. These provided 
something new to the Smokies, a 
cash market. For a time, one egg 
would "buy" a child a week's 




aC 



%f 



supply of candy. Local families 
sold farm products to the log- 
gers and sawmill men. 

The Smokies yielded board fee] 
of lumbeii&temiiHons. Che' 



zM~ 




$ ^t^ 






*^ sc> 



•*•*«■. 



Fires and Flooding 













^.i^Mtk 



MS&&* Jfe te 




2&r£ 






i ii ■} wa 




. ■ . 



V "<f> 



^^^Hlw * 












? r 



^.\v 




% 






^ 



4f * *nk SKR& 



The devastation seen in the 
photograph on the facing page 
is the aftermath of a fire that was 
set by sparks belched out of 
logging equipment, an unfortu- 
nate source of several devastating 
fires in logging's heyday. 

The ravages of logging led to 
fires, and the fires led to flooding. 
Many fires were set by the flam- 
ing sparks from locomotives or 
log skidders. More than 20 disas- 
trous fires took place in the 1920s 
alone. A two-month series of fires 
burned over parts of Clingmans 
Dome, Silers Bald, and Mt. 
Guyot. Intense destruction oc- 



curred in the Charlie's Bunion 
area of The Sawteeth in 1925. 
Hikers on the Appalachian Trail 
still see the effects of this fire. 

The fires created conditions for 
massive flooding. Parched soils 
were no longer secured by living 
roots and the dense mat of plants 
that makes the Smokies world 
famous today. Streams and rivers 
flooded, carrying unusually heavy 
loads of sediment. These condi- 
tions were intolerable for the 
native Southern Appalachian 
brook trout and apparently 
speeded their disappearance from 
lower elevations. 



Rainbow trout were introduced 
and proved able to survive. 
More recently brown trout were 
successfully introduced. The 
brookies now occupy less than 
half the territory they did in 
the 1930s. 



Some flooding is still common 
today. This is natural. The 
Smokies get their fair share of 
rainfall, making seasonal flooding 
expected. And every few years 
prolonged or bad storms can 
cause unusually heavy flooding 
of the streams and rivers. Here 
you see the Little Pigeon River 
in flood near park headquarters 
in 1979. Whenever Smokies 
streams or rivers are flooded it 
is very dangerous to attempt 
crossing them. Don't try it. 
Revise your itinerary instead. 




What about fires today? Light- 
ning-caused fire is as ancient as 
the mountains themselves and 
has always been a part of the 
forest's life process. Some tree 
species actually depend on fire 
for regeneration, such as the pin 
cherry. And the heath bald 
shrubs, such as blueberry and 
mountain-laurel, prosper after a 
light burn. Fire is necessary as 
well to dozens of flowering plants 
which quickly seed new forest 
openings the fire creates. 

We have long viewed fire on wild- 
lands as a catastrophe, and in- 
deed it is often a piteous sight. 



But the urge to suppress fire com- 
pletely sometimes results in other 
unsatisfactory conditions. On 
many large public land areas 
limited wildfires are now allowed 
to burn if they don't threaten pri- 
vate property or human lives. 







> 



it 




51 






M 













\ • * *. 



*.-£-' V 



t'/£*r 



- 






3 



1 A- - 



*#w 



£^»y" 










-•sa;^ 









,«r». 




$ 



ftp 






s-iV 







-*♦: 






•■^JB^I 



>>' 



r;«is 







«fS 



iti> . s\ 



Wk 








WW*"*-' \\* -v 




'' !.>^: 



The Evolution of 
Abundance 



Diversity is the biological keynote of the Great Smoky 
Mountains. Within the national park have been found 
about 1 ,500 species of flowering plants, among which are 
some 100 trees. There are around 2,000 fungi, 50 mam- 
mals, 200 birds, and 70 fishes, or more than in the fresh 
waters of any other national park on our continent. There 
are about 80 reptiles and amphibians, among which are 
22 salamanders, which is probably as many as can be 
found in any similar-sized area in North America. Pres- 
ent conditions, such as warmth, abundant moisture, and 
a diversity of environments brought about by the height 
and dissection of the mountains, are partly responsible 
for this biotic wealth. But time, the many millions of 
years this land has been above the sea and south of the 
ice, has also been an important factor. It has been a span 
long enough for a great many species of plants and 
animals to get here and find a niche and for other species 
to evolve in the region. The story of the arrival and 
evolution of the present flora and fauna is intimately 
linked with the dramatic history of our continent. 

We can only guess what life existed here during the 
130 million years of the Mesozoic era, because no rocks 
from this period exist in the Smokies. But we can imag- 
ine that dinosaurs and primitive birds and mammals 
roamed the region, as they did other parts of the conti- 
nent. Toward the close of the Mesozoic, flowering plants 
evolved and rapidly became the dominant type of vege- 
tation. We can guess that some of these first magnolias, 
elms, and oaks grew right here in the ancestral Smokies. 
Newly evolved bees probably helped to pollinate some 
of the flowering plants. 

The story becomes clearer and the life forms become 
more and more familiar to us during the 65 million years 
of the Cenozoic, the present era. In the first half of the 
Cenozoic, subtropical vegetation grew in the southern 
United States and temperate vegetation grew north to 
the Arctic. As these plants would indicate by their ability 
to grow here, this was a time of warm or mild climates 
throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Land bridges 
between North America and Eurasia, by way of the 
Bering Strait and perhaps Greenland, allowed the spread 
of a remarkably homogeneous flora throughout the then- 



The Smokies is an ancient land- 
mass. Its plantlife may have 
evolved uninterruptedly for more 
than 200 million years. Continen- 
tal Ice Age glaciation did not 
reach this far south, and as the 
Atlantic Ocean has repeatedly 
inundated most of North America, 
the Smokies remained an island. 



53 



temperate parts of these two continents. The Great 
Smokies, with their feet in the South and, as it were, their 
head climatically in the North, must have had both 
subtropical and temperate vegetation early in the Ceno- 
zoic era. 

During the second half of the Cenozoic, a cooling 
trend set in. The widespread "Arctotertiary" vegetation 
of the northern latitudes moved southwards through 
North America and Eurasia. By the end of the Tertiary, 
which includes all but the past two to three million years 
of the Cenozoic, the vegetation zones of North America 
were probably very similar to those of the present. In the 
Smokies the trees probably ranged from southern types, 
such as sweetgum, at low elevations through the great 
mixture of cove forests and possibly to spruce and fir at 
the highest elevations. After a long period of gradual 
change in climate, the stage was set for the drastic events 
of the Pleistocene. 

It is hard for us to imagine what an ice age must have 
been like in our country. Perhaps the only way to imag- 
ine it is to visit the Antarctic or one of the great glaciers 
in Alaska, and to watch giant slabs of ice fall from those 
towering walls. Then . . . mentally transport the scene to 
the Hudson River valley or to the flatlands of Illinois, 
while magnifying the thickness of those glaciers several 
times over. Then imagine the surface of that great ice 
sheet stretching all the way to northern Canada. 

If you had stood near the front of that massive ice 
sheet, you would have felt the cold air flowing off it. How 
far south that cold, dense air flowed and to what extent it 
affected temperatures in the southern states are unanswered 
questions. But undoubtedly temperatures were lowered 
throughout North America and perhaps farther south. 
Some scientists postulate a drop of 5.5 degrees Celsius 
(10 degrees Fahrenheit) in mean annual temperatures in 
southern United States. The high pressure that developed 
over the ice sheet would have pushed storm tracks south- 
ward, increasing precipitation in the South. 

Such continental ice sheets advanced at least four 
times as climates cooled, and as many times they re- 
treated during warmer intervals. With each advance and 
the consequent cooler, wetter climate, there was un- 
doubtedly a southward shift of vegetation belts. In the 
mountains there would also have been a downward shift 
of forest types, particularly those of the higher elevations. 
That is, the higher elevation species would begin to grow 
down the slope. In sheltered coves temperatures prob- 



54 



ably did not drop as much as they did higher up or out 
in the open lowlands, and soils in coves were deeper 
and more fertile. The coves of the Southern Appala- 
chians thus may have formed a refuge for many tem- 
perate species of plants, including some forced south- 
ward by the spreading ice. This is a factor in today's 
biotic richness or abundance in the Smokies. 

On top of the Smokies and other high mountains of 
the Southern Appalachians, tundra (treeless areas) may 
have developed as winter climates became too cold and 
windy even for spruce and fir, which is the situation 
today on high peaks of the Adirondacks and White 
Mountains in New England. Accumulations of blocky 
boulders in higher parts of the Smokies resemble block 
fields in the northern Appalachians that probably were 
formed above timberline in late stages of glaciation. 
From the location of block fields, geologists postulate a 
treeline in the Smokies somewhere between 900 and 
1,500 meters (3,000 and 5,000 feet) elevation during the 
last glacial period, some 15,000 to 25,000 years ago. If 
islands of tundra did exist in the Southern Appalachians, 
it is not likely that tundra mammals would have migrated 
from the tundra bordering the ice front through the 
intervening forest to reach such Arctic pastures in the 
sky. But some birds might have. Water pipits, which 
today nest in the Arctic and above timberline on our 
Western mountains, might have bred on these patches of 
southern tundra. And the few snow buntings which have 
been seen wintering on Southern Appalachian balds 
may have been returning to ancestral nesting grounds of 
the species. 

Although Pleistocene tundra in the Smokies is a rather 
speculative notion, it seems certain that spruce-fir forest 
existed below today's 1,400-meter (4,600-foot) limit. This 
supposition is supported by the fact that fossil pollen and 
other fragments of spruce and fir have been found in 
several lowland bog deposits of the South. 

During the last Ice Age the Southern Appalachian 
spruce-fir forests and their animals must have been a 
richer version of the plant-animal community that exists 
in this zone today, for at the peak of the ice advance 
northern plants and animals probably could migrate 
along a continuous avenue of this boreal forest in the 
Appalachians. Bones from cave deposits at Natural Chim- 
neys in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley indicate that such 
northern animals as porcupines, snowshoe hares, pine 
martens, fishers, spruce grouse, and gray jays, as well as 



55 



the now extinct longnosed peccary and giant beaver, 
roamed that area 10,000 to 15,000 years ago. The still 
existing species mentioned above now live farther north 
in the forests of New England and Canada. If such 
animals could live during the late Pleistocene at 450 
meters (1,500 feet) in Virginia, many and perhaps all of 
them might well have lived at higher elevations in the 
Smokies. In the case of porcupines, archeological records 
from nearby regions in fact support this idea. 

After the retreat of the last ice sheet a warm, dry 
period set in and caused the development of grasslands 
as far east as Ohio. To what extent this change in climate 
may have affected the Smokies is not known. But it may 
have been responsible for the development of the beech 
gaps: as the spruce-fir forests were forced ever higher, 
beeches and yellow birches followed in their wake. The 
once continuous band of spruce-fir forest through the 
Southern Appalachians would then have been broken 
into patches as it migrated to higher elevations— and 
disappeared entirely on the lower mountains. Today 
such forest is restricted in the Southern Appalachians to 
the highest parts of eastern West Virginia, southwestern 
Virginia, western North Carolina, and areas in and just 
north of the Great Smokies. During the warmer, drier 
period following glaciation, boreal forest must have been 
even smaller in extent. 

Another consequence of warming was the northward 
migration of plants and animals into territory vacated by 
the ice sheet (north of the Ohio River and Long Island). 
The result today in northeastern United States is a broad 
patchwork of forest types, each type dominated by a few 
species, as in beech-maple or beech-birch-white pine 
forests. This stands in contrast to the diversity of the 
cove forests from which the migrants extended. Cove 
forests still harbor individuals of all these species. 

What happens next? Has the Pleistocene epoch really 
ended or are we merely between glaciers, awaiting the 
next invasion of ice? For the Smokies the question implies 
others: Will the forest zones move up or down the 
mountainsides? How will this affect animal life? 

While terrestrial life in the mountains flourished dur- 
ing the continent's climatic swings, aquatic life fared 
equally well. Within Great Smoky Mountains National 
Park live some 70 species of fish. Contrast this with the 
number in Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge 
of Virginia, which has only about 25 species. Why so 
many in the Smokies? The answer parallels the situation 



56 



for plants and terrestrial animals: diversity of environ- 
ments and plenty of time. All the streams of the Smokies 
lie within the Tennessee River drainage, which is part of 
the Mississippi River drainage. The Tennessee River has 
more species of fish than any other river in North America, 
because of its many environments (lowland, plateau, and 
mountain); the vastness of the Mississippi drainage; its 
existence for many millions of years; and its Pleistocene 
history. During glacial periods many species of fish were 
forced southward by ice and cold glacial water. The 
Tennessee River system offered them a refuge just as 
Southern Appalachian coves offered a refuge for plants. 
Even the Mississippi itself was a less favorable haven 
because it received most of the meltwater. In the head- 
waters of the Tennessee, the streams of the Smokies thus 
benefit from their contact with an ancient, relatively 
undisturbed river system. Within the park, stream envi- 
ronments range from cold and fast to comparatively cool 
and slow, with large, deep pools. 

While most of the present plant and animal species of 
the Smokies have ranges that extend far beyond these 
mountains, and while many of these have spread here 
from other areas of origin, a few are restricted solely to 
the Smokies. This suggests that they may have evolved 
here. One such plant is Rugel's groundsel, a member of 
the Composite family that grows to about 28 centimeters 
(11 inches) high and bears large, cylindrical clusters of 
tiny golden flowers. This plant, abundant in the park's 
spruce-fir forests, has not been found outside the Smokies. 
This suggests that it evolved in the Southern Appalachi- 
ans and that after the last glacial period, when connec- 
tion with other sections of spruce-fir forest was broken, it 
persisted or survived only in the Smokies. By compari- 
son, the Fraser fir, though most abundant in the Smokies, 
also occurs north to southwestern Virginia on the highest 
mountains, indicating that it evolved at some earlier, 
colder time when spruce-fir forest was more nearly con- 
tinuous. The red-cheeked salamander, a striking crea- 
ture, is probably the sole vertebrate found exclusively in 
the Smokies. Many other species of salamanders, how- 
ever, are restricted to parts of the southern end of the 
Appalachians and probably evolved there, where the 
cool, wet climate and diverse topography provide ideal 
conditions for this group of animals. How many other 
species of plants and animals evolved in the region and 
subsequently spread far beyond this point of origin we 
can only conjecture. 



57 



These eight pages sample the 
abundant life of the Smokies, 
from flowering plants and shrubs 
to birds, mammals, reptiles, and 
amphibians. 

Species are shown for various 
reasons. You may want to identify 
the common species you see in 
the wild. Other species are un- 
common and you are not likely 
to see them. Still others are 
uncommonly beautiful, and we 
don't want you to miss seeing at 
least their pictures. 

Information, drawings, and photo- 
graphs of bears and wild boars 
are found in the "Bears, Boars 
and Acorns" chapter. 






&sm. 



Jt. : - 



x .i«rji 



I 



Jack-m-the-pulpit 






.,*K 



Scarlet painted-cup 







Pink lady 's-slipper 



\% <• 





Turk 's-cap lily 



Orange hawk weed 








Bird's-foot violet 



Passion-flower 






J 4 ,w 



Fringe-tree 



w< _ , f^ 



% • V 




£^« 



>»* 




Dog-hobble 



% 



n\ 



/ 



V? 



^5 



■*.■« 




^4 






I 



7arae azalea 



Redbud 






r^/ 



"i'v 



'? 



v 




Mountain silverbell 



•S v-'-^>. - y 




Witch-hobble 



V.'"**' 



«iK^r 



.* i > 




r. 






( 




Umbrella magnolia 



Flowering dogwood 



% 



4 gg2 iiy 



Catawba rhododendron 






Fire cherry 



Yellow-poplar 



Wm 









* 




Mountain laurel 



<■'■' 



Brr- 1 " •i^'V""' 



?***v. 



^**-**"J? 



J" 



u. 



«y? * 



Barred owl 




Wild turkev 



^fiffhrv 



& 



Cardinal 




Yellow warbler 



,.A. 






■>r 



k 






Common flicker 



<f*^tP 





Tufted titmouse 






■wi 



' 



**, 



X 




£ r 






■■. ■ 










Spotted skunk 



Whitetail deer 



***»# 
j|^*»"« 




,,-*..■ . 



>M\ 



Cottontail rabbit 







ft 






■ 5*s 







Bobcat 




Deermouse 



Opossum 



y 




$ 



Fence lizard 




Ringneck snake 






9' 



\, 



% 



vl 









\y # 







OA28 




ttC' 



. 



?opard frog 



■ -■■' 



Gray treefrog 






***■" 



♦ 



I « 



*■ 




Midland mud salamander 



Marbled salamander 



Timber rattlesnake 



■iifc 









Arte snake 





araw jg^BBt * 




^mmh^hm> , i 


American toad 












t<= - 


^* * «t 



■ %*.** \ 







p»^ 



^ffefei^- 



r 



Red-cheeked salamander 



Spotted salamander 



Bears, Boars and Acorns 



As frosts touch the earth and the reds and yellows of fall 
creep down the mountainsides, oaks, hickories, beeches, 
and other trees shed their fruits. Many animals will join 
in the harvest of this fruit, but several, especially bear, 
deer, wild boar, gray squirrel, chipmunk, turkey, and 
ruffed grouse, are particularly dependent on this mast, as 
it is called, for their autumn and winter welfare. With the 
chestnut gone these animals must rely mostly on acorns. 
Oaks, unlike the chestnut, do not produce consistently, 
but fruit abundantly some years and fail in others. In the 
poor years, when competition for mast is keen, the 
effects are starvation, wandering, and mass migrations. 
The appearance and multiplication of European wild 
boars in the park have only added to the pressure on the 
native animal species. Acorn shortages bring into sharp 
focus the life styles and survival systems of the mast- 
dependent animals. From among these the wild boar 
emerges as an ecological villain, although we should 
perhaps cast man, who introduced the boar here, in 
that role. 

The loss -of the chestnut illustrates how a change in 
one element can irrevocably alter an entire ecosystem. 
As the chestnuts of the Smokies died, their place was 
taken primarily by chestnut oak, northern red oak, red 
maple, hemlock, and silverbell. The annual mast crop 
suffered from this change in two ways. First, only about 
half of the replacement trees were mast-bearing oaks. 
Second, oaks are not dependable mast-bearers. Mast 
failures seem to result mainly from spring freezes during 
the pollinating and fertilization of oak flowers. Chestnuts 
bloomed in the first two weeks of June when the danger 
of frost was slight and so they bore well nearly every 
year. This difference in flowering time has had reverber- 
ations throughout the animal world within these moun- 
tains. By looking into the life histories and population 
dynamics of some of the acorn eaters we may get some 
idea of the nature and extent of those reverberations. 

Whitetail deer prefer young forests and mixtures of 
forest and field because in these areas an abundance of 
shrubs and herbaceous plants provides ample food. The 
mature forests of the Smokies have relatively little forage 
near the ground and so they support only small numbers 



Oak trees add the brilliance of 
their turning leaves to fall's burst 
of colors. The oaks ' acorn crop 
is also important winter food for 
several forest creatures. Chest- 
nuts once supplied winter food, 
too, but a blight virtually elim- 
inated the chestnut trees earlier 
this century, adding to the im- 
portance of acorns. 



67 



of deer. In the Cades Cove area, however, the lush 
meadows and second-growth forest feed several hun- 
dred deer. In the fall deer join in the mast harvest, but 
they do not depend on it as do the bears, gray squirrels, 
wild boars, and chipmunks. Deer have the option of 
eating twigs, buds, and herbaceous plants. They eat 
acorns, however, and this nutritious food will help them 
enter winter in good condition. Deer mating takes place 
from September to November in the Smokies, as the 
mature males each run with a female for several days, 
then hunt for another. In winter the bucks shed their 
antlers and join the does and yearlings. In May or June 
the does give birth to their spotted fawns, usually twins. 
The summer bands you see in Cades Cove are again 
separated by sex as the bucks once again grow antlers in 
preparation for the autumn battles. 

Now that wolves and other large predators are gone 
from the Smokies, starvation and disease are the princi- 
pal checks on deer numbers. Late in 1971 a disease that 
causes massive bleeding struck the herd in Cades Cove, 
killing many of the deer and a few cattle. But by the 
following spring an increase in the production of off- 
spring and the influx of deer from nearby areas brought 
the herd back almost to its former number. 

Gray squirrel numbers fluctuate even more dramati- 
cally, as populations build up and then collapse, but 
these oscillations occur even when food is adequate. 
Until recently, some observers thought these oscillations 
were amplified by mast failures, but apparently they are 
not. In the Smokies, gray squirrels are found mostly in 
the oak and beech forest of the lower and middle eleva- 
tions, while their smaller cousins, the red squirrels, stick 
more to the upper elevations. In years of extreme low 
population swings such as 1946 and 1968, many migrat- 
ing squirrels have been killed or the highways; others 
have even been seen attempting to swim Fontana Lake. 
The loss of gray squirrels in 1946 was estimated at 90 
percent for some watersheds. 

Turkeys and ruffed grouse both feed heavily on acorns 
in the fall, although they, like the deer, have other possi- 
bilities. Turkey and grouse also feed on the fruits of 
dogwood and wild grape; beechnuts in good years; seeds; 
and buds. A statewide study in Virginia found that acorns 
supplied about one-quarter of the annual diet of wild 
turkeys, and this proportion is much higher in fall. Acorns 
are also a top food item in fall for ruffed grouse. 

We come now to the two chief antagonists in the 



68 



annual mast hunt, bears and wild boars. The arrival of 
wild boars in the park has meant added competition for 
bears, as well as many other disruptive ecological effects. 
By considering the population dynamics and seasonal 
activities of these two species, we get a clear contrast 
between their roles. One fits in with the forest "estab- 
lishment" and one clearly does not. 

How many bears live in the park? This is difficult to 
determine because bears are secretive and tend to wan- 
der. The National Park Service estimates that numbers 
usually range from about 400 up to about 600, depending 
on reproduction, food availability, extent of poaching, 
and other factors. The estimates are based on intensive 
research by the University of Tennessee in the northwest 
quarter of the park. 

From about December to March black bears sleep, 
although they occasionally come out for brief periods. 
During the University of Tennessee studies it was learned, 
to the surprise of many, that bears in the Great Smokies 
had a preference for denning in hollow trees, sometimes 
as much as 15 meters (50 feet) above the ground. Typi- 
cally, such a tree has been broken off by storms and 
provides an entrance and some sort of platform within 
that supports the bear. In such a den, or one in a protected 
place on the ground, the female in alternate years gives 
birth to tiny cubs weighing about a half-kilo (18 ounces) 
apiece. 

Most bears leave their dens in late March or April and 
from then until early summer, when berries begin ripening, 
they find food scarce. Black bears are primarily vegetar- 
ians, though they eat almost any animal matter they can 
find, from ants to large mammals, as well as carrion. In 
spring they graze grasses heavily. Squawroot, a fleshy, 
conelike, parasitic plant, is a favored food then, so much 
so that local people call squawroot bear potato or bear 
cabbage. Roots and insect grubs also help to see the 
bears through spring, a time so lean for them that drop- 
pings are seldom seen on the trails. At this season bears 
roam widely at all elevations. Mating occurs in early 
summer. 

From late July until early September the bears con- 
centrate on berries, especially the blackberries growing 
in open places such as ridgetops and balds, and the 
blueberries most abundant in open oak-pine woods. Since 
insects and vertebrate animals are most numerous in 
summer, bears harvest them more frequently then than 
at other times. They especially seek beetles and nests of 



69 



yellowjackets. With throngs of campers in the park bears 
investigate this source of food, too. National Park Ser- 
vice management practices are aimed at ending such 
scavenging— which makes bears both dependent on and 
dangerous to people— and ensuring that the animals live 
out their normal lives in the forest. Being deprived of 
garbage will work no hardship because, for bears and 
most other animals, summer is the season of abundance. 

As fall progresses blackberries, blueberries, and bee- 
tles diminish in the diet and acorns and beechnuts increase 
until they become the primary sustenance. Bears are 
particularly fond of white oak acorns, the sweetest. In 
their eagerness the huge animals, which sometimes reach 
200 kilos (450 pounds) in weight, even climb trees and 
crawl out on the branches as far as they can to eat the 
fruits or break off and drop the branch tips for consump- 
tion on the ground. They also relish black cherries and 
serviceberries. A park naturalist told me of watching a 
very large bear climb a 5-centimeter (2-inch) thick ser- 
viceberry on Spence Field, bending the tree double. 
Throughout the Southern Appalachians you can see 
small serviceberries broken down like this by bears in 
their quest for the fruits. 

In most years the mast crop is adequate for all the 
animals dependent on it, but in the years of failure bears 
are hard pressed to find enough to eat. They wander 
down out of the mountains in search of food. In such 
years many are killed by hunters outside the national 
park. The loss of bears in some of the poorest mast years 
may be one-third to one-half of the park's bear popula- 
tion. 

Enter now the European wild boar. Its history in the 
Smokies is another classic example, along with the chest- 
nut blight fungus, balsam woolly aphid, Norway rat, 
starling, and a host of other pests, of the damage that can 
be done by introducing an organism to territory outside 
its normal range. The wild boars in the Smokies are 
believed to be descendants of animals, purportedly of 
stock from Germany, that escaped from a game pre- 
serve on Hooper Bald, southwest of Fontana Lake, in the 
early 1920s. They were first detected in the park about 
1950. By the early 1960s wild boars, now with some 
admixture of domestic pig blood, had spread east to 
Newfound Gap and, in the lower country, to Cosby and 
possibly Cataloochee. Their occupation of the entire 
park seemed imminent. 

So now the Smokies have a wild counterpart of the 



70 



domestic hog, the staple livestock animal that moun- 
taineers once ran year-round in these woods. Horace 
Kephart's vivid description of the hog in the 1920s applies 
almost as well to today's European wild boar: u In physique 
and mentality, the razorback differs even more from a 
domestic hog than a wild goose does from a tame one," 
Kephart wrote. "Shaped in front like a thin wedge, he 
can go through laurel thickets like a bear. Armored with 
tough hide cushioned by bristles, he despises thorns, 
brambles, and rattlesnakes, alike. His extravagantly long 
snout can scent like a cat's, and yet burrow, uproot, 
overturn, as if made of metal." 

The hog's long legs, thin flanks, and pliant hoofs fitted 
it to run like a deer and climb like a goat, Kephart 
claimed, calling it "a warrior born" who was also a first 
rate strategist. 

The European wild boar sometimes attains a height of 
nearly a meter (three feet) at the shoulder and a weight of 
100 kilos (220 pounds). It is built rather like a bison, the 
hindquarters sloping down from the shoulders. The long, 
hairy-tipped tail and, in the male, well-developed tusks 
also distinguish it from its domestic counterpart. Obvi- 
ously, this is a formidable animal, as numerous boar 
hunters who have been treed by it or watched it cut up 
their dogs can attest. Normally, however, wild boars are 
not dangerous and run at the sight or scent of man. One 
evening, standing in a yard where a boar had rooted the 
night before, I asked a long-time boar observer about the 
animal's pugnacity. 

"They won't attack you unless they're wounded or 
hemmed," this observer related. "I've tried to get them to 
charge me. Even picked up a squealing piglet once, but 
the sow didn't attack." 

Wild boars feed mostly at night. Campers near balds 
in the western section of the park sometimes see them 
or hear their grunts and snorts as they run away. The 
females and young travel about in family groups but the 
males are loners. Though the animals are elusive, spend- 
ing their days resting in dense cover, the signs of their 
rooting are very obvious on balds, in beech gaps and 
open fields, and along trails in moist woods. 

Wild boars move seasonally in quest of food. In spring 
they eat a lot of grass, as well as succulent roots and the 
upper parts of wildflowers, which are especially abun- 
dant in cove forests and high-elevation beech forests. In 
summer they continue eating grass and other herba- 
ceous plants but also seek huckleberries, blueberries, 



71 



and blackberries. When acorns, hickory nuts, beech- 
nuts, and other tree fruits start falling, they turn their 
attention to these, which in abundant years can carry the 
boars through winter. When the mast fails they feed 
heavily on tubers of wild yam and the outer layer of 
pitch pine roots. Throughout the year they supplement 
this vegetable diet with whatever invertebrates, salaman- 
ders, snakes, rodents, and other small animals they can 
root out or catch. Carrion and garbage are always wel- 
come, too. The wild boar, as classic an omnivore as his 
domestic cousin, will eat almost anything. 

Aside from the competition they give other masteaters 
in the critical fall season, wild boars upset the ecological 
balance in additional ways. Susan Bratton, research biol- 
ogist with the National Park Service's Uplands Field 
Research Laboratory here in the Smokies, has made 
detailed studies of boar damage. She found that in some 
areas boars had greatly reduced the numbers of certain 
wildflowers, such as spring-beauty, yellow adder's-tongue, 
and wake-robin. Many other kinds of herbaceous wild- 
flower species in the park are known to have been eaten, 
uprooted, or trampled. Wild boars also damage tree 
roots and seedlings, but apparently avoid beeches, thus 
favoring the root sprouting of this species. They root up 
grass sod on balds, which speeds the invasion of balds by 
other herbaceous plants and trees and they cause soil 
erosion by removing the plant cover. They also harm 
native species by preying on those mentioned above and 
destroying the nests and eggs of ground-nesting birds 
such as grouse and turkeys. 

With such a list of black marks against the non-native 
wild boar, it becomes readily apparent why the National 
Park Service is concerned about its numbers in the park. 
Conventional methods of trapping and directly reducing 
the boar population have limited their impact in cer- 
tain areas of the park. Unfortunately, because of the 
animal's tremendous reproductive capability the efforts 
are not successful in reducing the total park population. 
The technology to completely eradicate the boar from 
the park is not available at the present time. Park Service 
research is now aimed at control methods. Estimates of 
the boar population have ranged upward to 2,000. But 
no reliable method of counting the boar in the park has 
yet been devised. University of Tennessee research has 
indicated that there may be at least 1 ,000 boars in the 
national park. Other estimates suggest there might be 
twice that many. Wild boars can reproduce any month 



72 



of the year and most females bear a litter of from one 
to twelve piglets each year. And the wild boar has few 
enemies in the park, although bears and bobcats may 
occasionally take the young boars. With such a high 
reproductive potential, and so few controlling agents, 
the wild boar population has reached a size that severely 
alters and damages the park's natural environment. 

Contrast these population dynamics with those of a 
competing native species, the black bear: Bears repro- 
duce every other year, typically giving birth to only two 
cubs. When the mast fails they may not reproduce at all, 
apparently because the embryo does not implant, or is 
resorbed, or the mother has insufficient milk to keep the 
young alive. In some years, when bears wander out of the 
national park, many are killed by hunters. Each year 
poaching within the park takes several more. Hunting 
aside, bear populations became attuned to the support- 
ive capacity of the environment through centuries of 
adaptation. Wild boars have been here only a few dec- 
ades, far too short a time for the species to be integrated 
into the total forest community. 

As the wild boars multiply unchecked in the park, they 
damage ground cover, inhibit tree reproduction, increase 
erosion, and decrease the native animals with which they 
compete for food. Perhaps hardest hit are black bears, 
squirrels, and those other species that in the fall depend 
on the all-important acorn. 



73 




*^t 



The wild boar came to the Great 
Smoky Mountains National Park 
uninvited in the early 1920s. 
While its population remained 
small, the boar was not thought 
a menace. Since the 1960s how- 
ever, it has become obvious that 
the boar constitutes an ecological 
disaster of great proportions. 
In feeding, the animals move 
together and root up the ground 
or a stream bed with unbeliev- 
able thoroughness. 

After boars have tackled a stretch 
of trout stream, it looks as 
though a bulldozer had churned 
it up. Presumably they seek 
aquatic insects, salamanders, 
and even a few small fish. Sala- 
manders are among the park's 
chief biological treasures, so the 
boars have not endeared them- 
selves to those who are respon- 
sible for managing wildlife here 
in the park. 

Another biological prize in these 
mountains is the grass bald habi- 
tat. These energetic porkers 
were not slow to find balds a food 
source, ravenously digging for 
June beetle larvae. The grass bald 
survives only by the turfs re- 
sistance to tree invasions, so the 
boar and its plowing threatens 
the existence of these unique, 
and as yet incompletely under- 



stood, grass balds that are both 
prizes and puzzles. 

Over the years it has been sug- 
gested that diverse species are 
directly threatened by the ex- 
panding boar population. These 
include ground-nesting birds, 
yellow adder's-tongue and other 
wildflowers, and possibly deer 
and bear. 

Studies are underway to deter- 
mine the extent of the boars 
damage, and hence the real 
threat they pose. But we have no 
good comparative figures on the 
populations of other species 
for the years before boars arrived. 
Despite this lack, it has not been 
difficult to brand the boar a 
villain. But to control them has 
not been so easy. In good years 
they thrive— and gobble up 
more park resources. 

There is a food preference rela- 
tionship between turkeys, deer, 
bear, and boars in their mutual 
dependence on annual acorn 
and hickory nut crops. The 
widespread chestnut blight 
wiped out this dependable 
annual crop of nuts on which 
bears, deer, turkeys, and other 
animals fed in preparation for 
winter before the boars arrived. 
Now all these species compete— 



and the prolific boar is a lusty 
competitor— for a more uncer- 
tain acorn/hickory crop. 

Some would cast the boar as 
pure villain. Others would say 
that people are at fault for intro- 
ducing the boar into this region 
as an exotic species. The sport 
of hunting was anticipated with 
relish but the consequences were 
not considered at all. The boars 
have now bred with domestic 
pigs to such an extent that the 
markings vary from animal to 
animal. Some show definite 
spots, others few or none at all. 
Wildlife artist George Founds, 
who drew the boars and bear 
on these pages, was once a guide 
in this region. 






The woodlands rooting of the 
boars is impossible to miss at 
trailside. A person could not do 
as well with ax and hoe— or 
power tiller! 



The wild boar is winning the 
contest with park efforts to 
control it. Fewer than 200 are 
trapped or killed in a year, and 
even these are soon replaced by 
the boar's high reproductive 
capabilities. 



Piglets are born nearly naked, so 
the mother builds a nest for their 
first week of life. 



75 



& i 







Mtt /ffi 



4! l^ 



v %i ;\%fiw; 



r 



4* O 



H' 



Many admire the bear above all 
other park animals, associating 
it intimately with wilderness 
scenery. Not seeing a bear can 
be a disappointment. But bears 
are shy and secretive; about 95 
percent never come near the 
roads here. You might be sur- 
prised that bears, classed as 
carnivores, are about 80 percent 
vegetarian. But they will eat 
almost anything. 

The sow will usually have two 
cubs every two years. They are 
born blind and hairless, no bigger 
than a young rabbit. In two 
months they will leave the den 



under the watchful, if indulgent, 
eye of a fiercely protective 
mother who is a stern disci- 
plinarian. It is good training, for 
bears live by stealth and cunning 
as much as brute strength. 
(Scientists think bears may be 
almost as bright as primates.) 
Bears feed in summer on berries. 
In autumn they forage on hickory 
nuts and acorns to build fat 
reserves for the long winter 
they spend in the den. 

Bears are tree climbers (see note 
on denning below), especially if 
climbing brings food within 
reach. Bears have been observed 



bending small trees double. 
Many they will break to get at 
the fruit. They may climb out on 
branches to get at fruit, or break 
the branches off and consume 
the fruit on the ground. 



The relationship of a mother 
bear and her cubs can be fasci- 
nating to watch. Even hard-nosed 
biologists must quell the urge to 
describe this relationship in 
purely human terms! The rela- 
tionship is best watched at a 
distance, however, because the 
mother is fiercely protective of 
her young. That protective 
instinct can prove dangerous for 
the unwary hiker or backpacker. 
Generally, however, bears will 
sense you first and avoid you 
entirely. 








Cubs develop their strength and 
coordination in tumbling games 
of tag and wrestling. A cub is full 
grown at age 4. A bear is old 
by age 12. The park's bear popu- 
lation varies from about 400 to 
600. 




A few years ago it was discov- 
ered here in the Smokies that 
bear denning sites are frequently 
in hollow trees 6 to 15 meters 
(20 to 50 feet) above the ground. 
Holes near the ground (photo) 
are not commonly used. 




The intelligence of bears is 
often underrated. They seem to 
walk awkwardly, because their 
hindquarters are longer than 
their forelimbs, but they are 
agile and move rapidly. 



77 



/ I 



it 



/ 













^ «feiB s 







- --•- tu 



BBflM 






b*« 






, $m 



>g£jjjill"lffililiWPlHll'lB 




■-. ■--■■--■r-^;:^,^^"* 



.iliBMnjM^ aia^ 



-^w p a wiWMMMfl i 



■Ml 



^i_ ■ 




i a .-^__ 



*m.-r^z*z&3t- 





£*2SB3SiJ 



The Tracks of Our 
Predecessors 



Rocks rose out of the sea and became mountains. 
Plants clothed them and animals lived among the plants, 
all evolving and changing over the millions of years. A 
few thousand years ago, a dense green mantle of giant 
trees covered the Smokies. Bears roamed the forest and 
bison followed their ages-old trails across the mountains. 
Beavers built dams across lowland streams, and mead- 
ows followed when the beavers moved on. Elk and deer 
came out of the forest to feed in the meadows and 
cougars and wolves hunted the elk and deer. It might 
have gone on this way for even more thousands of years. 

But then people came. First Indians, then settlers, 
then the lumber companies. What was the impact of this 
new element, this two-legged animal? How did the forest 
and its life change? Is it now returning to its former state? 
In trying to answer these questions we may learn some- 
thing about the ecological role of people not only in the 
Smokies but also in much of eastern North America, 
most of which resembled the Smokies in its forest cover 
when people first arrived on the scene. 

For at least several thousand years groups of humans 
have lived in the lowlands around the Great Smokies. 
Use of the highlands themselves by these earlier groups 
was probably limited, however. Our history of peoples in 
the mountains begins with reports of explorers who 
visited the Cherokees in the late 17th and 18th centuries. 
They found this tribe, which is thought to have left the 
ancestral Iroquoian territory and moved southward about 
the year 1000, dispersed in small villages along foothill 
streams in a great arc around the Southern Appalachi- 
ans. Primarily an agricultural people, the Cherokees 
tended fields of corn, squash, beans, melons, and tobacco 
around their thatched log cabins. But they also hunted 
and fished, and gathered wild plant materials for both 
food and trade. Although the mountains harbored spirits 
that were not entirely friendly, the Cherokees camped in 
coves and gaps to hunt bear and deer, to gather nuts and 
berries, and to gather stone for implements. Early reports 
from the Smokies noted the large numbers of deer, bear, 
and beaver skins being traded by the Cherokees. Quite 
possibly, they set fire to attract game and promote the 
growth of berry bushes, thus creating some of the myste- 



Imagine hewing your own home 
out of the surrounding woodlands 
with just a few hand tools. Such 
was the life of Smokies pioneers. 
Today you can peer into the past 
at the Pioneer Farmstead beside 
the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. 



79 



nous grass balds atop the Smokies. For purposes of trade 
and warfare they established trails through the moun- 
tains. Such a trail across Indian Gap remained the prin- 
cipal cross-mountain route until early this century. 

What effect did all this have on the tapestry of life in 
the mountains? Undoubtedly the Cherokees increased 
the area of open land, although some of their cropland 
might have been established on old beaver meadows. 
They may also have reduced the numbers of game and 
fur animals, although 18th-century travelers in the region 
still could be amazed at the abundance of deer, bison, 
beaver, cougars, and other animals. No species except 
the bison is known to have disappeared during the years 
the Cherokees had sole dominion over the land, and they 
may have contributed in some way to this one loss. With 
relatively small numbers in the Smokies, and a lack of 
highly destructive implements, especially guns, the Cher- 
okees apparently changed the ecological picture only 
slightly in the days before contact with Europeans. 

In the 1790s settlers, legally or illegally, began taking 
over former Cherokee land in the Smokies, beginning 
with two of the broader lowland valleys, the Oconaluftee 
and Cades Cove. As the Cherokees yielded more and 
more land, by treaty or to theft, settlement by the new 
Americans proceeded up other valleys, until by 1826 
almost every watershed was occupied by at least a few 
families. Clearing and occupation of land continued 
through the 19th century, the largest concentrations 
developing in the Sugarlands (along the West Prong of 
Little Pigeon River), Greenbrier Cove, and Cataloochee, 
in addition to the earliest areas of settlement. In 1926, 
when land buying for the newly authorized park began, 
there were 1 ,200 farms and 7,300 people within the park 
boundaries. By this time, however, farming in the Smokies 
had passed its peak. 

By contrast with earlier Indian inhabitants, the farm- 
ers had considerable impact on the land. Most obvious 
was the removal of forest to make homesites, cropland, 
and pastures. By 1902, eight percent of the land on the 
Tennessee side of the Smokies and seven percent on the 
North Carolina side had been cleared. As settlement 
proceeded up a hollow farmers were confronted with 
steeper and steeper slopes. The inevitable results of 
trying to raise corn on the sides of mountains were rapid 
loss of fertility and then of the soil itself, as the heavy 
rains leached out nutrients and washed away first the 
humus and then the mineral soil beneath. In this wilder- 



80 



ness where virgin land was still abundant, many moun- 
taineers simply cleared a new patch when the old one 
gave out. Horace Kephart, a midwesterner who lived 
among such farmers on the North Carolina side early in 
the 20th century, recorded their approach to cultiva- 
tion. They would clear land and get out two or three 
crops of corn. 

" When corn won't grow no more I can turn the field 
into grass a couple o' years," Kephart's informant says. 

"Then you'll rotate, and grow corn again?" Kephart 
asks, a bit ingenuously. 

"La, no! By that time the land will be so poor hit 
wouldn't raise a cuss-fight." 

"But then you must move, and begin all over again." 
Kephart counters. "This continual moving must be a 
great nuisance." 

Kephart overstates the case, however, because most 
stayed in one house for two to three generations, or 
about 50 to 75 years. 

Clearing and the erosion that sometimes followed 
were relatively local and distinct effects of settlement. 
Uses of uncleared forest land had widespread, but more 
subtle, effects. Selected white pines and yellow-poplars 
were cut for lumber; oaks for shingles; and hickories 
mostly for firewood. Other species were put to less 
important, miscellaneous uses. Many plants were col- 
lected for food and dyes or for medicinal purposes. 
Ginseng, which has a forked root highly prized in China 
for its supposed medicinal and aphrodisiac values, was 
nearly eliminated by eager "sang" diggers who sold the 
roots for export. Probably even more pervasive was the 
influence of livestock. Hogs, and sometimes cattle and 
sheep, were allowed to roam the forests, grazing, brows- 
ing, and rooting for a living. Mast— acorns, chestnuts, 
and beechnuts— formed an important part of the diet of 
hogs, but these omnivorous creatures ate all sorts of 
plants and small animals. As anyone knows who has 
observed a grazed woodlot, livestock can quickly impov- 
erish the ground and shrub layers of a forest. Grazing 
and browsing, along with use of fire, prevented the 
return of forest to the grass balds. All these uses of the 
forest undoubtedly changed the proportions of many 
tree and lesser plant species in the total forest composi- 
tion. Precisely how much they did so cannot now be 
determined. 

The impact of settlement on certain wildlife species is 
more easily seen. Elk disappeared about the time the 



81 



earliest pioneers moved in. The beaver, an easily trapped 
animal, was nearly gone by the end of the 19th century. 
Wolves and cougars, hunted because they sometimes 
killed livestock— and uncomfortable in the presence of 
people— followed soon after. Deer, bear, and turkey 
persisted but in much-reduced numbers, with the bears 
retreating to rough, wild country in the central heights. 
Smaller animals fared better, although such hunted spe- 
cies as raccoon, opossum, and gray squirrel perhaps 
suffered some reduction. 

About 1900 a new era began, bringing the greatest 
shock yet to Great Smokies ecosystems. Large lumber 
companies, having logged off the big timber of New 
England and the Great Lakes states, turned their atten- 
tion to the virgin stands of the Southern Appalachians. 
Setting up sawmills at the fringes of the mountains, they 
rapidly worked their way up the coves, just as Cherokees 
and settlers had done before them. Railroads, built to 
carry logs to the mills, were extended upstream as cut- 
ting progressed. In some watersheds, such as those of the 
Little River, Big Creek, and the Oconaluftee, nearly all 
species of trees were taken. In others, such as Abrams 
Creek, West Prong of the Little Pigeon, and Cataloochee, 
cutting was selective. By the late 1920s, logging, added to 
settlement practices, had at least partially cleared more 
than 60 percent of the land in the Great Smoky Moun- 
tains. 

Though for a time it proved an economic boon, log- 
ging was easily the most destructive form of land use the 
region was ever subjected to. The removal of forest 
cover and the skidding of logs down steep mountainsides 
caused widespread erosion. This weakened the founda- 
tion for regrowth and clogged streams with sediment, 
thereby reducing their quality for sustaining aquatic life. 
In the wake of logging came forest fires, probably the 
worst these mountains have seen. Heaps of dried branches 
trimmed from logs made perfect tinder for fires started 
by engine sparks, careless matches, or lightning strikes. 
In the 1920s disastrous fires roared up the East Prong of 
Little River, up Forney Creek to Clingmans Dome, and 
over the slopes around Charlies Bunion. Scars from 
some of these fires have still not healed today. 

What was the net biological effect of the presence of 
people in the mountains in 1926, the year Congress 
authorized Great Smoky Mountains National Park? 
Broadly speaking, the forest and its animals had been 
diminished but the plants and animals of grassland and 



82 



brush had increased. The gray wolf was gone but the 
meadowlark had arrived. In 1930 the American people 
inherited lands that were still about 40 percent virgin 
forest, the largest such chunk of forest left in the East. 
The rest of the park was a patchwork of uncut forest, 
young second growth, and openings dotted with houses 
and barns and fringed with stone walls and fences. The 
park therefore preserved much of the primeval splendor 
of the Smokies, but the activities of people would long 
remain visible in it, and some of these would deliberately 
be maintained as part of the region's historical heritage. 

Today most of the former fields, except those such as 
Cades Cove that are purposely kept open, have returned 
to forest. But it is still easy to recognize these grown-over 
fields by the types of trees on them. Many bear a nearly 
solid stand of straight-stemmed yellow-poplars. Others 
are marked by a dense growth of pines. Dr. Randolph 
Shields, who grew up in Cades Cove and became chair- 
man of the biology department at nearby Maryville Col- 
lege, has watched the plant succession on old fields in the 
Cove since about 1930. He has found there that pines 
usually are the first trees to spring up among the grasses, 
herbs, and blackberries and other shrubs that follow field 
abandonment. On moist ground, yellow-poplars usually 
come up under the pines, but sometimes hemlock and 
white pine form a second tree stage under the pioneer- 
ing Virginia or pitch pines. Where yellow-poplars come 
in, they usually shade out the light-loving pines in about 
40 years. Gradually the many species of the cove forest 
become established under the yellow-poplars, presaging 
the mixed stand of big trees that will complete the cycle 
initiated by clearing the land. On the drier slopes it may 
take about 100 years for the pines to be shaded out by the 
red maples, oaks, and hickories that eventually become 
dominant in such areas. 

As you might expect, animal life changes with the 
progression of plant succession. Meadowlarks, bobwhites, 
woodchucks, and cottontails are replaced by red-eyed 
vireos, wood thrushes, chipmunks, and white-footed mice 
as grassland and shrubs give way to forest. With age and 
woodpecker activity, tree cavities develop in the forest, 
providing homes for an additional complement of ani- 
mals such as screech owls, flying squirrels, raccoons, 
bears, and opossums. 

Under the protection accorded by its designation as a 
national park several animals have made a dramatic 
comeback in the Smokies. Bears once again roam the 



83 



entire mountain area. Turkeys are frequently seen in 
such places as Cades Cove, where openings break the 
mantle of forest. In recent years sporadic beaver activity 
has been noted in the park. Even cougars are occasion- 
ally reported, although their presence has not been 
conclusively established. But wolves, elk, and bison— 
animals that symbolize the Indian's America— probably 
cannot be brought back. 

Nature again reigns supreme in the Smokies. We may 
never see here the numbers of wildlife that surprised the 
first explorers, but we can see remnants of the giant- 
treed forests that greeted them, and we can marvel at the 
undulating expanse of green, a beautiful suggestion of 
the vast hardwood forest that once cloaked eastern 
America. 



84 



Mountain Lifeways 




•^"We 







SSIffiBHlfH 



story is the story of men and 
women making their homes in 
these wooded eastern mountains. 
With few tools and even fewer 
manufactured fixtures and fas- 
teners, pioneers settled in and 
became mountaineers. 

Industry— hard work, that is— 
and ingenuity came in handy. 
Many aspects of these traits are 
illustrated in this section through 
historic photographs of men and 
women going about their business 
in the Smokies. It was not all 
hard work, but even the play 
often exhibited these folk's 
ingenuity in turning the things of 
field and forest into implements 
of recreation. 

For more insight into the lives 
of Smokies people, see the Na- 
tional Park Service book, High- 
land Homeland: The People of 
the Great Smokies, by Wilma 
Dykeman and Jim Stokely. It is 
sold in the park visitor centers 
and by mail (see "Armchair Ex- 
plorations" on page 125). 

Preceding page: Milas Messer 
dresses or curries a hide in the 
drying shed at his farm on Cove 
Creek. 








; ^ .'^s*S|T 



Fitting barrel to stock 




Chiseling a tub mill wheel 







:-> " 



*r 



Ma r l|hM ? w 



***»• 






}Wm 



Interior of a mill 



'#4 



'■*?%&* ... 




Rolling sorghum cane 



JM 



SI 



m,;:"'--^ 



Hauling wood 



ars 





"s-^s^.sa?' 







y 



:W- 






:*>H 



! >•■} . 



:&S#.*5* 






"« „ 



«%»$* 



-- X. i . 






Repairing a hauling sled 













••X 



+ 



Splitting shingles 










Hog butchering 








s«i»* 



z / 





V^fv» 



'«€■■-" 



tip 







■' 5L 



ing a hide 



* «„' M » ! 






H» • » 



1 « ■ 



• »m 





II a 



I 



V- 



*~ / 1 




a©n 



- •. 



*<,#. 



.**■*? 



Shaving barrel staves 



m&m 




'*»! 




• 



m 




'- m y 



i « .~ ,«ii<*.- 






Gunsmi thing 



(J * i *^ 







Basket weaving 



^raBSMHB^' 





\ 



Hi*> 







:\ 





r— 



y 







-i. M 



lacksmithing 



.' , . 








( 










1 -"i ■■ i . ■ ips $■■ 









- $$***$$&$** 



»4* "*^% 



Mountain, laundry 



/ -" 



V 



PP*"' 



Churning butter 



Carding wool 



i ■■ ■ ■ 



K 




*\ 







Ginning cotton 




Making baskets 




•h&£:4 













Weaving yarn into cloth 



Wash day 



Oconaluftee 



What kind of people were the 
Smokies pioneers? Part of the 
answer awaits you at the Pioneer 
Farmstead next to the Ocona- 
luftee Visitor Center on the 
North Carolina side of the park. 
The farmstead buildings suggest 
an independent people who were 
hardworking, laboring spring, 
summer, and fall to prepare for 
the coming winter. 

This is a typical Southern Appa- 
lachian pioneer farm. The life 
style of earlier years is demon- 




strated by people in period dress 
here from May through October. 
A few animals roam the farm- 
yard and the garden produces 
traditional crops. In the fall 
sorghum cane may be pressed to 



make sorghum molasses. Inside 
the cabin— you can poke your 
head through its open doors and 
windows— traditional breads 
may be baking, or a quilt be 
patching, or wool a-spinning. 
And don't forget to notice the 
fieldstone chimneys, the squared 
logs' careful notchings, and the 
handsplit wooden "shakes" up 
on the roof. 

Just up the road is Mingus Mill, 
an excellent example of a 
turbine-powered gristmill. A 





- * 




; 



Aw 



TJ 



Wbw 4 gwm- 













miller is often on hand May 
through October to answer your 
questions about how waterpower 
was used to produce cornmeal 
and flour. You might even be 
able to purchase some of the 




cornmeal or the flour ground 
right at the mill. Wheat is harder 
than corn and requires harder 
stone to grind it. Millstones for 
grinding- wheat in this area were 
imported from France. The 



stones used for grinding corn 
were cut domestically. 

A commercial mill the size of 
Mingus Mill would generally be 
built by a specially skilled car- 
penter known as a millwright, a 
term which has taken broader 
meaning today. 



! ^^g| 





Cades Cove 



Cades Cove preserves the image 
of the early settlers' self-sufficient 
life style in the Smokies. It was 
not all romance. Cades Cove 
itself is expansive, level, idyllic 
farmland, which hardly de- 
scribes most of the Smokies. 
Cades Cove is today an open 
air museum. Here are the beau- 
tifully restored and picturesque 
Elijah Oliver cabin; the still- 
operated Cable Mill grinding 
flour with water power; and 
numerous churches, houses, and 
cabins. At Cable Mill are many 




artifacts of past agricultural 
practices from throughout the 
Smokies. The largely self- 
sufficient agricultural economy 
here came to an end with the 
advent of logging about 1900. 



By 1920, most Smokies residents 
were linked to a cash economy, 
to manufactured items and 
store-bought foods. But Cades 
Cove preserves glimpses of the 
pioneer ingenuity that wrested 










a living from the landscape. 
Preserved with the cabins here 
are many ingenious devices such 
as effective door latches simply 
fashioned from local wood. 

In 1850 Cades Cove supported 
685 people in 132 families. Most 
originally came from Virginia via 
routes followed today by Inter- 
state 81 and U.S. 411. A treaty 
in 1819 transferred the Cades 
Cove from Cherokee to State of 
Tennessee ownership. Settlers 
traded in what is now Townsend, 



and in Maryville and Knoxville. 

A delightful 18-kilometer (11- 
mile) one-way loop road un- 
folds the quiet pleasures of Cades 
Cove to you. This is a popular 
route with bikers because it is so 
scenic— and not so arduous. Peri- 
odically the loop road is closed 
to motor vehicles for the sake of 
bicyclists. Early farmers were 
quick to appreciate the same 
level aspect of the cove that 
appeals to today's cyclist. 




J -• ... ■! V 



<• tPmr". 







JSr-n^J?'. 













Cherokee Indians 



The Cherokee nation was settled 
in the shadow of the Smokies. 
"The place of the blue smoke," 
they called the mountains in their 
heardand, and so the Smokies 
have become named. Myth, ritual, 
and religion bound the Chero- 
kee s closely to the land. Ironi- 
cally, they enjoyed a sophisti- 
cated culture very similar to the 
white culture that would so cruelly 
supplant them. They were agrar- 
ian and democratic, and they 
believed in one god. They lived 
in rnud-and-log cabins, women 




sharing tribal governance, and 
men sharing household duties. 

The Cherokees rapidly adopted 
governmental features of the 
invading culture. They adopted 



a written legal code in 1808. 
Within a dozen years they had 
divided their nation into judicial 
districts with designated Judges. 
Two years later they had estab- 
lished the Supreme Court of the 



* *u 




"«I ' *)> 



!<•» <s 



H 



' SL* 






Cheroke.es; 'by J 827 they had 
their own constitution. 

The design of an entire alphabet 
for the Cherokee language, by 
Sequoia, marked an unparalleled 



feat. Within just two years of 
its adoption , The Cherokee 
Phoenix newspaper was pub- 
lished and most Cherokee- 
speakers could read and write! 
But the white people had an in- 
satiable appfctite for land. Treaty 
aftefNtTeaty was made and broken. 
Trie f|ifal Blow was the discovery 
of gold in 1828 near the Chero- 
kee villages in northern Georgia. 
Within a few years all their land 
was confiscated. The infamous 
'Trailof Tears" came with 
passage of the 1830 Removal Act. 



Some 13.000 Cherokees were 
forced to march to Oklahoma; 
25 percent died en route. Not 
all left, however, and some soon 
returned. Today the eastern 
band of Cherokees lives on the 
Cherokee Reservation on the 
park's North Carolina side. 





w.. 


-.** 

/^•N? 1 

- 



■■:.. ■■ y-t . 



i "*o*>m00m: 




% 




A 



&?*"; ■'* r ^%'5 > ' 






amf 








t- 



wssr/zsy/w,' 







V;:;-r V, ■'-,:»: 33W"Pyg 




;^>f 






. ' %.._. " 



■ 






Guide and A 



^,,w. 





■ffi- 





' ■ 



tiK* ->'■&. 



> 

■ : 



■ 





ft* 






Si!- 



Ssfes***. 




. - - ■ 

* 



- "Vs«e- > * 






> % j / " '• „ 'v. >• ! , 

> 
u 

^ v. V 



Goings to the Great Smokies 



The Great Smoky Mountains National 
Park straddles the North Carolina-Ten- 
nessee boundary for about 110 kilometers 
(70 miles). It is accessible by car from the 
Interstate highways encircling it as they 
connect the Tennessee cities of Knoxville 
and Chattanooga with Asheville, North 
Carolina; Greenville, South Carolina; and 
Atlanta, Georgia. The Blue Ridge Park- 
way reaches its southern terminus here 
on the park's North Carolina side. Major 
gateways to the park are Cherokee and 
Bryson City, North Carolina, and the cit- 
ies of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Townsend, 
and Cosby, in Tennessee. These urban 
areas with their tourist services are con- 
nected by Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441), 
the only park road that crosses the moun- 
tains. It is closed to commercial vehicles. 



Guide and Adviser 
Topical Reference 

Going to the Great Smokies 101 

Map 102 

Visitor Centers 104 

The Smokies by Car 107 

Wildflowers and Fall Colors 1 10 

Activities 112 

Hiking and Backpacking 114 

Accommodations 118 

For Your Safety 120 

Nearby Attractions 122 

Books to Read 125 

Index 126 



The National Park Service, U.S. Depart- 
ment of the Interior, is responsible for the 
management of the park. The superin- 
tendent's address is Gatlinburg, Tennes- 
see 37738. Telephone (615) 436-5615. Park 
headquarters is located 3.2 kilometers (2 
miles) south of Gatlinburg, on the New- 
found Gap Road. 

Maps, guides, schedules, and information 
about routes, points of interest, accom- 
modations, and services are available 
from several sources. For a Tennessee 
highway map write to Department of 
Transportation, Suite 700, James K. 
Polk Building, Nashville, Tennessee 
37219, or telephone (615) 741-2331. For 
Tennessee vacation information write to 
Department of Tourist Development, 
601 Broadway, Nashville, Tennessee 
37219, or telephone (615) 741-2158. For 
a North Carolina highway map write to 
Travel and Tourism Division, Box 25249, 
Raleigh, North Carolina 27611, or tele- 
phone (919) 733-4171. 



A low sun casts fencepost shadows 
on a Cades Cove road. The rela- 
tively flat cove was premium 
farmland. Geologically, the cove 
floor is limestone, younger than 
the rocks forming surrounding 
ridges. The Rich Mountain mass 
skidded across what is now the 
cove as the Smokies range was 
being formed. Previous pages: 
The Cades Cove loop drive is 
reserved for bicyclists certain 
hours each week. Its level de- 
meanor looks like heaven if you 
have biked across the mountains. 



101 






#411 



X 



Pigeon Forge' 



/</\MARYVILLE 



**: 



^ 



^ 



o 



N) x 



.Wear Cove 



^ 



O 



^ GATLiNBURG 



(closed in winter) XnM 



$s 



.O 



&* ■ ■ 






H'"'^'"" 1 'W'. 



»M"'r, 






Kinzet Springs r - J ,„ 0$®"' 

TownsendV , ^\ <v^-> or ,»o 
XremontflM 



"w< Sugarlands 
$ Visitor Center • 



o 



O Park Headquarters 



% 



W 



l Abra ms Creek 

GJa 






J 



Elkmont^ 

G3B 



>Aj vO 



•<^> 



r 7 /, 



4/ 



cadSs cove] 



(TtTCff 



— 

Cades Cove Visitor Center 







GJ 



47 



^ 



H Appalachian 

~f» Tjiunderhead Mountain 







^ 



■=° > e 



.*v 



?*0«P 



^ 



^&^ 



... „«f l 

• Parsow BakW "" «-A^ 



#** 



G 



4 



^ 



% 



O- 



Silers Bald § 




*** 



#» 



&^J$ 



& 



CHEROKEE NATIONAL FOREST 






V? 



W 



Cosby 



Cosby 

KS 



TENNESSEE 
NORTH CAROLINA 



Pittman Center i 



73) 



Me 



!'", 



Ml* 



fount 



^'g 



Cammerer «f^9Cree 



Greenbrier i^ 




Q 



VGreetbrl®*' Pmnacrfe 



Roaring Fpi;k 
Motor Nature Trail 



"A 



• Cherokee Orchard 



j^fV*" Appalachian 




►ftfount Guyot „■■"■-' 


Mount Sterling • 




t • 



Q 



-/>/. 






.Mpunt LeConte 

Ml 






Gfiarlies Bunion 



O 

c 
z 



Chimney^ 
Tops 



?r^ 



^5 



-z- 



'Mfewfound Gap 



f 



** 



S^ 






/// 



f-» Round Bottom fioa# 

\% , 4 




Cataloochee • 

ffl 



ngmans Dome 

drews Bal^ 






'- ' Newton Bald 



Oconaluftee Visitor Centgi 




k Heintooga Overtook 
Balsam Mountain 4 

fBSt^jSm;* f 
fountain Road 



Sep 



^4 



^ 



Maggie 



Dellwocdi 
M9? 



CHEB^KEE INDIAN RESERVATION"' 



\Soco Gap 



19 



CHEROKEE 



Creeky" 



To Asheville 
'l Waterrock Knob WAYNESVILLE 



1RYSON 
CITY 



v** 



o 



^ 



^ 



%: 



1191 



-<? 



4/, 



o 



6- 



SYLVA 




H- 



> 



^ 



4< 



tf 



V7 



)23{ 



Unpaved road 



Lj Ranger station 

£J Developed campground 



A. Primitive campground 
5. Observation tower 



■/ 



The division distributes several brochures 
on North Carolina vacations, recreation, 
and special events; specify your interest 
in the Smokies. The North Carolina Out- 
doors booklet lists areas and facilities, 
including private campgrounds, keyed to 
the official highway map. 

The following chambers of commerce offer 
information to help you plan and enjoy 
your trip to the Smokies. Pigeon Forge 
Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 209, 
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee 37863; telephone 
(615) 453-8574. Gatlinburg Chamber of 
Commerce, P.O. Box 527, Gatlinburg, 
Tennessee 37738; telephone toll free 800- 
251-9868 (except in Tennessee) or (615) 
436-4178. Townsend Chamber of Com- 
merce, Townsend, Tennessee 37882. Cosby 
Chamber of Commerce, Cosby, Tennes- 
see 37722. Cherokee Chamber of Com- 
merce, P.O. Box 465, Cherokee, North 
Carolina 28719; telephone (704) 497-9195. 
Bryson City Chamber of Commerce, Bry- 
son City, North Carolina 28713; (704) 
488-3681. In general, lodging and supplies 
are available in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, 
Sevierville, Townsend, Maryville, Bryson 
City, Cherokee, and other Tennessee and 
North Carolina towns surrounding the park. 
No public transportation serves the national 
park. Major airlines serve Knoxville, Ten- 
nessee and Asheville, North Carolina, where 
cars may be rented. 

Visitor Centers 

National Park Service Visitor Centers are 
located just inside the park on both the 
North Carolina and Tennessee sides. On 
the Tennessee side the Sugarlands Visitor 
Center is 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) south of 
Gatlinburg. The Cades Cove Visitor Cen- 
ter (closed in winter) is located in the 
Cable Mill area of the Cades Cove Loop 
Road. On the North Carolina side the 
Oconaluftee Visitor Center is 3.2 kilome- 
ters (2 miles) north of Cherokee. 



If you plan to be in the park just a few 
hours or up to several days, you will do 
yourself a favor by checking out a visitor 
center. Museum displays give you a quick 
and interesting insight into both nature 
and history in the park. At Sugarlands 
there is a free movie. Books, maps, and 
other publications are offered for sale in 
the visitor centers and free park folders 
are available. These resources— and the 
people working the information desks— can 
help you plan your stay in the park within 
the time limits you must meet. 

The Great Smokies is a large park whose 
diverse features are separated by signifi- 
cant driving times. Park employees can 
help you use your time to best advantage. 

Visitor centers also offer restroom facili- 
ties, drinking water, and a mail drop and 
they sell film for your convenience. Here 
you can get backpacking information and 
apply for a backcountry use permit. (See 
section on Backcountry Use.) Visitor cen- 
ter bulletin boards carry information on 
road conditions, urgent contact requests, 
and interpretive programs. 

Visitor centers are open 8 a.m. to 4:30 
p.m. during the winter, with extended hours 
of operation in the spring, summer, and 
fall. The Cades Cove Visitor Center is 
open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from mid- April 
through the end of October. 

Interpretive Programs 

Guided walks and evening programs are 
conducted by the National Park Service 
throughout the park. Most of these start 
or take place at the visitor centers and at 
campground amphitheaters. The uni- 
formed park employees who render these 
services are trained in the natural history 
and/or history of the Great Smokies. They 
give you excellent vignettes of the park's 
nature and its historical period of Indian 



104 








msBBm^^Sam 



1 




Sugarlands Visitor Center (top) 
in Tennessee and Oconaluftee 
Visitor Center in North Carolina, 
are the best places to begin your 
park trip. Exhibits explain the 
natural and human history of the 
Great Smokies. A free park folder- 
is available, books and maps are 
sold, and you can check the 
posted schedule of activities 
being offered. 



and mountaineer life and the opportunity 
to ask questions. You, for instance, might 
enjoy a short nature walk up a burbling 
Smokies stream and so learn about the 
more than 1,100 kilometers (700 miles) of 
streams in the park. Schedules of these 
activities and programs are posted at the 
visitor centers and on campground bulle- 
tin boards. A copy of the schedule is in 
Guide to Great Smoky Mountains National 
Park, which is available free at any visitor 
center, ranger station, or campground. 

Live demonstrations of mountain life skills 
and folkways are also provided periodi- 
cally (spring through October) at places 
such as the Pioneer Farmstead beside the 
Oconaluftee Visitor Center and the nearby 
Mingus Mill, or at the Cable Mill in Cades 
Cove. You even might be able to buy 
cornmeal freshly ground just as it was a 
century or more ago. 

Self-guiding nature trails have been laid 
out throughout the park. Look for these 
marked trails near campgrounds, visitor 
centers, and picnic areas. Most are easy 
walks of 1.5 kilometers (a mile) or less 
which take you through former farmsteads 
now returning to forest, groves of the 
world-famous cove hardwoods, reclaimed 
logged-over lands, or other aspects of the 
park. Trails are well marked and seldom 
difficult. At the trail's start look for a 
container offering a descriptive brochure 
for sale on the honor system. 

Two self-guiding motor nature trails lead 
you through impressive areas of the park 
in the comfort and convenience of your 
own vehicle. Near Gatlinburg. off the Cher- 
okee Orchard Road, is the Roaring Fork 
Motor Nature Trail. Its scenic route takes 
you by several restored pioneer buildings. 
The Cades Cove Loop Road is an 18-kilo- 
meter (11-mile) drive through, the pleas- 
ant scenery of Cades Cove. Here you get 



\ 



105 



pleasant vistas out across the cove where 
you rrn-y v *\\ see deer grazing against a 
moun n V ickdrofr. The fields recall the 
rural . vf many years ago. A bro- 

chure 'e at the start of the loop 

descril s along the way that are 

designai .mbered signs. At several 

points yo t park your car and visit 

preserved structures, both log and 

frame, and churches and cemete ies. Part- 
way tnrough the loop is a small visitor 
center aM the restored Cable Mill. Asso- 
ciated restored buildings he : e displa farm 
implements oifee rsed for vaQey and moun- 
tain farming his regieii. 

Guided interpretive programs are offered 
largely in summer. Check the current 
schedule at the visitor centers or on camp- 
ground bulletin boards. 

Evening campground programs offer inter- 
esting free family entertainment. Try the 
many interpretive p -ograms offered at park 
campgrounds in tl a evenings thri ughout 
th3 wtvi Ch^ck I .illetin boards for the 
scL iu! s 



managed, and exploring the park. For the 
adventurous there are "night prowls," 
guided experiences after dark to sample 
the sights, sounds, and odors of the night 
forest. 

Quiet walkways provide short walks on 
easy grades. They usually begin at parking 
areas that accommodate no more than 
two cars, so crowds are excluded. This is 
a nice way to experience the naturalness 
of the Smokies in walks not exceeding 0.5 
kilometers (0.3 miles). 



the ^ 

can I 

Som 

ud 



iree most often asked questions in 

k are: Where can I fish? Where 

np? and What about the bears? 

/ening programs cover the bears 

and you will learn about unusual 

vS in the Smokies. All eve- 

n- are offered for the general 

ained National Park Service 

Y* j will enjoy them no mat- 

>r \ )w little, you know 

An you are free to ask 

ig 7 will be taken seri- 




air 



oio: )W ar./r 



»most ru 



<%>•• 



be ,< 



ef r to 



,e:itween 



'^er sue'' topics as 

g, an- 'he 

? w ies. 

and 

k is 



106 




ThffSmokies by Car 



a 




They still grind corn sometimes 
by the old water-driven methods 
at the restored Mingus Mill (top), 
just up the road from the Ocona- 
luftee Visitor Center. But school's 
in session at Little Greenbrier 
only for the sake of people who 
come to the park to see what life 
was like in the Smokies a couple 
of generations back. These living 
history demonstrations are some- 
times offered in summer at various 
parts of the park. Check schedules 
at a visitor center or campground. 



open 

)kies. 

jther 

ed by 

,gh the 

3 up near 

ng and 1 e 



A few comments may save tin 

new vistas for your driving in . 

Within just an hour s drr e 

here are climatic differen 

elevation. You can dri< 

spruce-fir forests typical ol 

Clingmans Dome in late i 

driving tl rough lush southern harJwoc Js 

back near Sugarlands or Oconalu.lee in 

early afternoon. 

The roads are designed for ^enic driving. 
There are numc rou^ turn* and parking 
areas at viewpoii.u* or historic sites. 

Traffic, winding roads, and the scenery 
conspire to making driving time more 
important than distance here in the park. 
Figure "bout twice the time to drive a 
given distance that you would for normal 
highways. Be on the alert for unexpected 
driving behavior from others— they may 
be und< r the influem 2 of the scenery! 
Gasoline is not sold ir die t .irk. ?o ehc k 
your gauge Remember tha '> r vrsc as 
may close the Newfound G p and i t h 
River Roads. 

The main road in the park is t New- 
found Gap Road (U.S. 441) t veen 
Gatlinburg and Cherokee. It is t ^»nk 
road across the mountains. v t 
at the Newfound Gap Pai ' ir< 
will get some of the best s' ; 
mountain vistas in the pa k 
East Coast, for that 1 attt 
go still higher you c 1 dr 
mans Dome Road 
and walk up to th 
Here ou . a f£u 
national park, 
of tb ' RocV 
pan una 
the . 
and 

107 




Road is a deadend spur off the Newfound 
Gap Road at the crest of the Smokies. 

If you want to sample the Blue Ridge 
Parkway and also enjoy some beautiful 
mountain scenery from right up in it, try 
the Balsam Mountain Road, which leaves 
the parkway between Oconaluftee and 
Soco Gap. It winds for 14.5 kilometers (9 
miles) back into the national park's Bal- 
sam Mountain Campground. Incredible 
azalea displays will dazzle you here in 
season. If you are adventurous and want 
to try a mountain dirt road, continue past 
the campground to the Heintooga Picnic 
Area and the start of the Round Bottom 
Road (closed during winter). This is a 
22.5-kilometer (14-mile), partially one- 
way, unpaved road that descends the moun- 
tain to the river valley below and joins the 
Big Cove Road in the Cherokee Indian 
Reservation. You come out right below 
Oconaluftee at the edge of the park. 

Another view of the Smokies awaits you 
along the Little River Road leading from 
Sugarlands to Cades Cove. The road lies 
on the old logging railroad bed for a dis- 
tance along the Little River. (The curves 
suggest these were not fast trains!) Spur 
roads lead off to Elkmont and Tremont 
deeper in the park, and to Townsend and 
Wear Cove, towns outside the park. Little 
River Road becomes the Laurel Creek 
Road and takes you on into Cades Cove 
where you can take the one-way 18-kilo- 
meter (11-mile) loop drive and observe 
the historic mountain setting of early set- 
tlers. If you are returning to Gatlinburg or 
Pigeon Forge from Cades Cove, try exit- 
ing the park toward Townsend and driving 
the beautiful Wear Cove Road back to 
I '.S. 441 at the north fj&d of Pigeon Forge. 

Perhaps the most frtfcolic scenes in the 
Smokies are/to be seen from the Foothills 
Parkway between interstate 40 and Route 



32 near Cosby, around the northeast tip 
of the park. Here you look out across 
beautiful farmland with the whole mass of 
the Smokies rising as its backdrop. 

Other interesting drives in the park are 
the Rich Mountain Road, Parsons Branch 
Road (both closed in winter), and the 
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. At the 
west end of the park there is another 
section of the Foothills Parkway between 
Chilhowee and Walland. The parkway is 
administered by the National Park Ser- 
vice. A small leaflet, "Auto Touring," is 
available for a small charge at any of the 
three visitor centers. 

Mountain People and Folkways 

Right beside the Oconaluftee Visitor Cen- 
ter as you enter the North Carolina side of 
the park is the Pioneer Farmstead, a 
restored small farm along the Oconaluftee 
River. As you leave the visitor center 
headed toward the mountains, Mingus 
Mill Parking Area soon appears on your 
left. The turbine-powered gristmill used 
water power to grind cornmeal and flour. 
Its millrace leaves a lively creek and spills 
toward the mill under arching mountain- 
laurel. Stones used to grind wheat came 
from France. Cornmeal stones were of 
local origin. Mingus Mill is open from 
May through October and a miller is usu- 
ally on hand to answer your questions. 

On the North Carolina side of the park 
limited restored structures are also found 
at Cataloochee. 

The Cable Mill area in Cades Cove pre- 
sents the largest group of restored struc- 
tures on the Tennessee side of the park. 
Farming is still permitted in Cades Cove 
itself to preserve the open fields of the 
rural scene there. The 18-kilometer (11- 
mile) loop drive through Cades Cove takes 
you by numerous log and frame struc- 



108 




ft *^ 









^^v 



* 



•> -- 



tures. The Elijah Oliver place is a particu- 
larly beautiful log structure with outbuild- 
ings in a cozy, shaded setting. It shares a 
parking area with the trailhead to Abrams 
Falls. The stream flowing through Elijah 
Oliver's springhouse once kept his milk 
supply cool. 

Other pioneer structures include the Lit- 
tle Greenbrier School off Little River Road 
and cabins and houses along the Roaring 
Fork Motor Nature Trail. Close scrutiny 
of the many log structures shows subtle 
variations in notching and other details. 

Living history demonstrations are offered 
in season at Cades Cove, Mingus Mill, 
and the Pioneer Farmstead. Check the 
visitor center and campground bulletin 
boards for schedules. These may include 
craft demonstrations and concerts of tra- 
ditional mountain music. A "Mountain 
People" leaflet is available for a small 
charge at any of the park's visitor centers. 



Preceding page: Ranger-led walks 
and evening campfire programs 
can be highlights of your park trip. 



Wildflowers and Fall Colors 



With abundant warm sunshine and fre- 
quent rainfall it is no surprise that about 
200 species of showy wildflowers bloom 
in the Smokies. They begin in March and 
last until about November. Spring comes 
to mind when most of us think about 
flowers, but practically the whole year 
has something to offer. Spring seems to 
burst with flowers as they take advantage 
of good conditions for a short period 
between the cold of winter and the shade 
of summer, when full foliage blocks sun- 
light from the forest floor. 

Bloom dates depend on the weather and 
can vary from year to year. Here are 
recommended dates to guide you: Dog- 
wood and redbud, mid- to late- April; spring 
flowers, late March to mid-May; mountain- 
laurel and flame azalea, May and June; 
Catawba rhododendron, mid-June; and 
rosebay rhododendron, June and July. 

Springtime flowers are trilliums, phacelia, 
violets, lady's-slippers, jack-in-the-pulpits, 
and showy orchis. There are familiar exotic 
(non-native) species too, such as the dan- 
delion. (In the Smokies exotics are gener- 
ally flowers of field and not of forest.) 
Goldenrod, iron weed, and asters bloom 
in late September to early October. 

In August you may see wild clematis, 
yellow-fringed orchis, bee-balm, cardinal- 
flower, monkshood, and blue gentian. 

Many flowers grow along park roadsides. 
Other good locations to see them are along 
quiet walkways and on designated nature 
trails throughout the park. See photo- 
graphs of flowering shrubs and wildflowers 
on pages 58-61. 

Fall colors generally peak between Octo- 
ber 15 and 25. The presence of hardwood 



110 





species usually associated with more north- 
erly climes makes the autumn leaves here 
the more spectacular. Up and down the 
mountain the brilliant reds of maples, the 
golden yellow of beech, and the deeper 
hues of oaks and more southerly species 
blend spectacularly. Fall color is the result 
of the breakdown of green chlorophyll in 
deciduous leaves. Yellow and brown pig- 
ments present all summer now become 
prominent. Red colors are produced when 
sugars are trapped in the sap of the leaves. 

If you don't mind chilly nights this can be 
great camping weather, and a generally 
pleasant time of year here. Keep in mind 
that the traffic is particularly heavy in the 
park during the fall foliage season, espe- 
cially on weekends. 

A leaflet "Forests and Wildflowers ,, is avail- 
able from any park visitor center for a 
small charge. 



Spring and fall bursts of color are 
annual drawing cards in the 
Smokies. As the seasons progress, 
fall colors descend the mountains 
and spring colors "climb "upwards. 



Ill 



Activities 



Horseback Riding 

The park has many kilometers of horse 
trails and this is considered some of the 
finest riding country in the East. If you 
have your own horses and want to use 
them in the Smokies, write to the superin- 
tendent and request the "Great Smoky 
Mountains Trail Map" folder and other 
current information on horse use in the 
park. The folder provides basic informa- 
tion on sites and regulations and indicates 
horse trails. The regulations are designed 
to minimize the environmental impact of 
stock. 

If you don't own a horse, don't worry. 
You can rent one from a concessioner by 
the hour, half day, day, or overnight at 
five locations in the park: Cades Cove, 
Cosby, Dudley Creek, Smokemont, and 
Sugarlands. The National Park Service 
requires the concessioner to send a guide 
with all horse parties; this service is included 
in the basic rental rate. For overnight trips 
you must bring your own food. Saddle- 
bags and shelter are provided. 

If you want to experience a more tradi- 
tional "outfitted" horseback trip, write to 
area chambers of commerce for names of 
commercial outfitters. 

Bicycling 

The best place to bike in the Smokies is 
Cades Cove. If you don't arrive on your 
own bike or carry it on your car, you can 
rent one from the concessioner there, 
except in winter. The 18-kilometer (1 1-mile) 
loop road is a paved, generally level-to- 
rolling one-way country road around the 
cove. It takes you by restored pioneer and 
settlers' structures, both log and frame. 





Fishing Smokies streams and 
rivers and the nearby TV A lakes 
(top) is a popular pastime. Most 
sought after in the park are rain- 
bow and brown trout. Pictured 
here is the brook trout. Please 
take a good look because pos- 
session of any brook trout is pro- 
hibited in the park. 



Along the way are many pleasant streams, 
hiking trail access points, wooded stretches, 



112 



and the Cable Mill area with a small visi- 
tor center. The scenery is nothing if not 
glorious. You look out across the rolling, 
open meadow to the mountains. And you 
may see herds of deer grazing. In summer 
bikers have the loop road to themselves— 
no cars allowed— on Saturday evenings, 
after 6 p.m. 

Biking conditions elsewhere in the park 
are not generally good. The Newfound 
Gap Road is steep, winding, crushingly 
long, and can be full of traffic. Other park 
roads tend to be winding and narrow as 
well. 

The Cades Cove bicycle concession is 
located at the campground. 

Fishing 

The Smokies offer a chance to fish in 
rushing mountain streams and rivers. Of 
the 70 or so kinds of fish in the park, those 
that can be fished for are smallmouth 
bass, rock bass, and rainbow and brown 
trout. The native brook trout is protected 
and its waters are closed to fishing. Rain- 
bows and brown trout are non-native spe- 
cies and are managed to provide sustained- 
yield fishing. 

If you possess a valid Tennessee or North 
Carolina license you may fish all open 
park waters from sunrise to sunset. A 
license is required for all persons 16 years 
of age and older. Display it on request. 
You can buy a license in nearby towns. 

Fishing with bait is prohibited. Only single- 
hook artificial lures may be used. Posses- 
sion and size limits may vary with stream 
and species of fish, so check before you 
fish. In general, the possession of any brook 
trout is prohibited. The National Park 
Service hopes to restore some of the native 
brook trout waters encroached upon by 
introduced brown and rainbow trout. 



Local regulations are posted on streams 
and can be obtained at any park ranger 
station or visitor center. Or write to the 
park superintendent in advance of your 
trip. 

Birding the Smokies 

The variety of birds here is striking. A 
one-day count throughout the park and 
vicinity in winter will net more than 50 
species even in a bad year. More than 20 
warblers are considered to breed within 
the park, and nearly 30 members of the 
finch family have been reported here. Geese 
and ducks number nearly 20 species, but 
are not often seen. Craggy mountain heights 
provide ideal habitat for ravens, some 
hawks, and occasional migrating peregrine 
falcons. Eagles and falcons are only occa- 
sionally, or rarely, seen, but the mere pos- 
sibility is exciting. If you are interested in 
finding a particular bird or good birding 
places, check at a visitor center. Some 
birds are only seasonal residents or visi- 
tors of the park. 

Serious birders will want to see Notes on 
the Birds of Great Smoky Mountains 
National Park (1963), by Arthur Stupka, 
former park naturalist. Copies are availa- 
ble at visitor centers. 



113 



Hiking and Backpacking 



A Hiker's Paradise 

The fact that the National Park Service 
maintains 1 ,450 kilometers (900 miles) of 
trails says something about the Smokies 
and hiking: it's an East Coast hiker's par- 
adise. Trails come in all lengths and levels 
of difficulty, for the handicapped, chil- 
dren, super-athletes, old folks, day hikers, 
and long-distance backpackers. The lat- 
ter of course means the Appalachian Trail, 
which threads the Smokies crest on its 
way from Maine to Georgia. More on the 
AT below. 




The intimacy of the Smokies wilderness 
surprises many who are attracted by the 
stunning mountain scenery. This intima- 
cy, best seen afoot, is all but missed from 
your vehicle. So is the mood set by wild- 
flowers, cascading streams, birdsong, and 
the fragrance of fir trees so startling in the 
Southeast. Hiking trails give access to sev- 
eral waterfalls such as Juneywhank, A- 
brams, Henwallow, and Ramsay Cascades. 
A leaflet, "Streams and Waterfalls," is avail- 
able at visitor centers for a small charge. 

Ask at a visitor center or write to the 
superintendent for a copy of the National 
Park Service's "Great Smoky Mountains 
Trail Map" folder. It has up-to-date infor- 
mation and a shaded relief map of trails 
and popular trailheads in the park. Detailed 
trail descriptions are found in the Sierra 
Club Totebook, Hiker's Guide to the 
Smokies, sold at visitor centers and in 
area book and outdoor equipment stores. 

You will want to wear comfortable, non- 
slip shoes whether you go out for a half- 
hour or a day. And you must expect variable 
weather, characteristic of the Smokies. 
Abundant rainfall can materialize quickly 
on a day which began so clear just hours 
ago. A light poncho or other rain gear is 




From mountain balds (top) to 
rocky canyon ledges. Smokies 
trails introduce you to aspects of 
the park invisible to motorists. 
Afoot, you experience the inti- 
macy of natural detail that makes 
the Smokies internationally 
renowned. 



114 





All overnight camping except in 
established park campgrounds 
requires a free back-country use 
permit (top). The permit system 
assures you and your party an 
appropriate measure of solitude 
in the backcountry. No matter 
where you camp in the park, you 
must be fully prepared for 
rainy weather. 



handy. Make sure you will be warm enough, 
too. (See "Hypothermia Dangers" and 
"Winter Warnings.") Days that are warm 
at Sugarlands or Oconaluftee can be very 
cold if rain and wind catch you at higher 
elevations. 

Attractions shift with the seasons in the 
Smokies. The best way to meld your own 
interests with current attractions for a pleas- 
ant hike is to seek advice at a visitor 
center. Describing your interests and asking 
"What's best to see this time of year?" 
may well produce custom-tailored hiking 
advice. You will notice hikes are described 
in time as well as distance because steeper 
trails make simple distance a deceptive 
measure. A leaflet, "Walks and Hikes," 
describes over 50 popular day hikes and is 
available from park visitor centers for a 
small charge. 

Backcountry Use Permits 

All overnight hiking in the park requires a 
backcountry use permit available free at 
visitor centers, and the Cades Cove camp- 
ground kiosk. The permit system has as its 
purpose to protect the unspoiled charac- 
ter of the Smokies backcountry for the 
enjoyment of present and future users. 
Permits distribute use so that impact is 
not disproportionate in popular areas, and 
thus they provide backcountry users with 
an opportunity for increased solitude. You 
do not need a backcountry use permit for 
day hiking, only for overnight use. The 
"Great Smoky Mountains Trail Map" folder 
(see above) explains the permit system 
and its use. Information is also available 
at ranger stations or visitor centers. Or 
write: Backcountry Permit, in care of the 
park address; telephone (615) 436-5615 
and ask for "Backcountry." You can reserve 
a specific backcountry campsite for one 
to three specific nights up to 30 days in 
advance under this permit system. You 
can do this in person, by telephone, or by 



115 



mail. The permit itself must be picked up 
in person no earlier than 24 hours before 
the beginning of the trip. Note: Reserva- 
tions for the entire trip are automatically 
canceled if your permit is not picked up 
by 12:00 noon on the first day of the 
scheduled trip. Permits will not be issued 
to groups larger than eight persons. 

Competition for use of trail shelters along 
popular trails is great in the peak season. 
But you can pick and choose from among 
many uncrowded trails that offer trailside 
campsites. All water obtained in the back- 
country should be boiled or chemically 
treated. 



The Appalachian Trail 

Of all the distance the Appalachian Trail 
spans between Maine and Georgia, per- 
haps no sustained portion is as virtually 
untouched by humanity as the 110 kilo- 
meters (70 miles) threading the crest of 
the Smokies. And this despite the fact 
that the overall trail is 3,244 kilometers 
(2,015 miles) long. You can park your car 
in the Newfound Gap Parking Area and 
walk the AT north or south for a pleasant 
walk — or day-long hike — along the Smokies 
crest. A popular destination to the north is 
Charlies Bunion. There, because of unre- 
covered fire openings on extremely steep 
mountain slopes, you achieve a real alpine 
sense and literal "peak" experience. You 
can also park below Clingmans Dome, a 
short spur drive south of Newfound Gap, 
and experience the AT. 

About every 10-16 kilometers (8 to 10 
miles) there are overnight shelters provid- 
ing primitive bunks. These three-sided shel- 
ters are closed in on the fourth side with 
chainlink fence as bear-proofing. To stay 
in these shelters requires a backcountry 
use permit/reservation. Stays are limited 
to one night at a given shelter. 




"1 




The Appalachian Trail traces 110 
kilometers 1 70 miles) along the 
crest of the range. Overnight 
shelters (above) are screened 
against bears. Shelter use requires 
a backcountry use permit (see 
text). Through-hikers on the 
Appalachian Trail must also write 
ahead for permit information. 
Most park trails are well defined 
and well marked. They offer 
backpackers ready — if not easy 
— access to some of the East s 
finest wildlands. 



116 



If you are hiking the Appalachian Trail 
from outside the park you can stop at the 
Twentymile Ranger Station (on the south) 
or the Big Creek Ranger Station (on the 
north) to get your permit and reserve shel- 
ter space. You can also write ahead for a 
permit and reservation up to 30 days in 
advance (see above). For through-hikers— 
those hiking the entire AT between Maine 
and Georgia— the situation is different. 
You can obtain a "through permit" in 
advance of your trip. Write to Backcountry 
Permits at the park address and explain 
your trip. 

Because it follows the Smokies crest the 
AT acts as backbone to a network of 
trails within the park. With such spur trails, 
many with their own pleasant waterfall, 
creek, or other natural feature as an attrac- 
tion, you have access to the AT from 
numerous trailheads. Such AT sections 
are much less crowded than those near 
Newfound Gap and Clingmans Dome. You 
get the same sense of walking the crest of 
eastern America and participating in the 
trail experience that began as a dream of 
a pioneering land-use planner, Benton 
MacKaye, early in this century. 

For information about the complete Appa- 
lachian Trail write The Appalachian Trail 
Conference, P.O. Box 236, Harpers Ferry, 
West Virginia 25425. 

Backcountry Basics 

While you need a backcountry use permit 
only for overnight backcountry travel, it 
would be remiss not to say something 
about backcountry basics for casual trail 
walkers and day hikers. Once you leave a 
parking area or campground in the 
Smokies, you are in the wilderness. This is 
the nature of the place. The National Park 
Service advises against solo camping or 
hiking in the backcountry. Even experi- 
enced hikers can get into trouble and, if 



alone, may not be able to obtain help. 
This information is not offered to scare or 
offend you, but just to make you realize 
where you are and to make you concerned 
about your safety. 

Stream crossings can be dangerous if the 
streams are swollen after a rainstorm. Don't 
attempt to ford a swollen stream. Return 
to the trailhead and plan another trip. It's 
worth the extra effort and precaution. 

Sudden weather changes are characteris- 
tic of the Great Smokies. Be prepared to 
get wet and either hotter or colder. Rain, 
wind, and cold can become a deadly com- 
bination before you recognize your own 
symptoms of hypothermia. Rainstorms are 
typical of warmer weather, so always carry 
raingear in late spring and summer. 

Stay on park trails. If you become lost, do 
not leave the trail. Particularly, do not 
follow a stream because dense undergrowth 
will rapidly tire you. Most trails intersect 
others within a few kilometers and signs 
at the junctions can put you back on course. 
If you find yourself lost late in the day, 
find a protected spot and spend the night. 
After-dark travel is dangerous. Try to stay 
warm and dry. Show some sign if possible, 
such as a fire. 

Do not climb on cliff faces and waterfalls. 
The fine spray mist off waterfalls makes 
surrounding rocks treacherous footing and 
increases safety hazards. 

If you intend to try winter camping, write 
to the superintendent for information about 
the equipment you should have, a back- 
country permit, and conditions you may 
encounter. At higher elevations winter 
conditions can differ radically from the 
popular image of winter in the mid-South. 



117 



Accommodations 



Camping 

Camping is one of the best ways, espe- 
cially for families, to get into the mood 
and spirit of the Great Smoky Mountains. 
The National Park Service maintains seven 
developed campgrounds and three primi- 
tive camping areas in the park. Developed 
campgrounds are Smokemont, Elkmont, 
Cades Cove, Cosby, Deep Creek, Look 
Rock, and Balsam Mountain. Primitive 
campgrounds are Cataloochee, Big Creek, 
and Abrams Creek. Fees are charged at 
the developed campgrounds, which offer 
water, fireplaces, tables, comfort stations, 
tent sites, and limited trailer space. No 
shelters are provided; bring your own and 
other camping equipment. There are no 
showers or trailer hookups. Disposal sta- 
tions for trailer holding tanks are found at 
Smokemont, Cades Cove, and Cosby 
Campgrounds and across the road from 
the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Primitive 
campgrounds have pit toilets. 

Camping is limited to seven days at all 
campgrounds during the peak season. You 
may reserve campsites at three developed 
camping areas— Elkmont and Cades Cove 
in Tennessee and Smokemont in North 
Carolina— by writing to Ticketron, P.O. 
Box 2715, San Francisco, California 94126. 
There are no telephone reservations. A 
good idea for prompt service is to call the 
national park and find out the current 
per-night camping fee and Ticketron's res- 
ervation handling fee. Then mail Ticketron 
a money order, not a personal check, for 
the amount to cover the reservation plus 
handling for the entire period you request. 

Some general tips: Avoid the mid-summer 
peak camping season. Both spring and 
autumn can be very pleasant and offer 
dazzling flower and leaf-coloration shows. 
Arrive early in the day and seek your 



campsite on arrival. Look for a campground 
off the beaten path, generally away from 
the Newfound Gap Road (see map). 

A hundred or more commercial camp- 
grounds are found nearby, too. Area cham- 
bers of commerce can supply you with 
commercial camping information. Regional 
lists of campgrounds are maintained by 
tourist offices in both Tennessee and North 
Carolina. For Tennessee write: "Fishing 
and Camping in East Tennessee ," Knox- 
visit Welcome Center, 901 E. Summit 
Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee 37915, or 
telephone (615) 523-2316. For North 
Carolina write: "North Carolina Out- 
doors, " Travel and Tourism Division, 
Box 25249, Raleigh, North Carolina 
27611, or telephone (919) 733-4171. 

LeConte Lodge is located atop Mount 
LeConte, the third highest peak in the 
Appalachians. You must hike a half-day 
up the mountain trails to get there, and 
you must make reservations several months 
in advance. The lodge sits at elevation 
2,009 meters (6,593 feet) amidst spruce 
and fir trees— and lots of swirling mist. 
You can hike in via Alum Caves Bluffs 
and the lodge sits at trail junctions leading 
to Rainbow Falls, Grotto Falls, and the 
Appalachian Trail. You need bring only 
personal articles. For information, rates, 
and reservations, write or call LeConte 
Lodge, Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738, (615) 
436-4473. 

The only other accommodations in the 
park, other than campgrounds, are avail- 
able at the Wonderland Hotel, a small 
turn-of-the-century hotel located in the 
Elkmont section of the park. For infor- 
mation or reservations call (615) 436-5490. 
The hotel is closed in winter. 

A new breed often encountered 
on today 's trails is called back- 
packee! 



118 



For Your Safety 



Bears, Bears, Bears 

Tales could be told that would curdle 
your blood . . . but not about the black 
bear's aggressiveness. These stories would 
be about the stupidity of some human 
beings. For reasons of pride in our own 
species— and so as not to demean bears— 
we will not recount these tales here. Just 
this: 

The black bear is the largest wild animal 
in these parts. It can weigh 225 kilograms 
(500 pounds) or more, but is capable of 
incredibly fast sprints on rough terrain. It 
is a wild animal, and protected as such it 
sometimes loses its normal fear of people. 
This makes the bear appear tame, but it is 
then actually more dangerous than its truly 
wild counterparts. If you come upon a 
bear while you are in your car, keep the 
windows shut. Do not attempt to feed, 
tease, molest, or get close to a bear. Do 
not try to take a closeup portrait photo- 
graph of a bear; either use a telephoto 
lens or be satisifed with a distant shot. 

Avoid and steer clear of a sow bear with 
cubs. She will do anything to protect them 
if she thinks they are threatened. Keep in 
mind that, even if you don't see her, she is 
seldom far away. Cubs are cute, but you 
approach or show interest in them at your 
peril. 

Bear feeding is prohibited. It is dangerous 
to you and those who come after you. It 
also establishes habits that may lead to 
the death of the bear. Roadside bears are 
frequently hit by cars, killed by poachers, 
or fed harmful substances. Don't be guilty 
of killing a bear with kindness. 

Campers and backpackers must observe 
certain regulations designed to minimize 
the extent to which bears are attracted to 



human pursuits in the park. If you plan to 
camp or backpack, make sure you are 
familiar with these regulations on food 
storage, etc. For example, food cannot be 
left unattended. If you are backpacking, it 
must be hung out of reach of bears. If you 
are camping in a campground, food must 
be stored in the trunk of your car. Ask for 
additional information when you obtain 
your backcountry use permit or when you 
check into a campground. Failure to 
observe these regulations may bring a fine. 

Theories abound about how to act if you 
should confront a bear. All such theories 
assume the bear isn't just as startled as 
you, and that "bear behavior" is predicta- 
ble. It is not. As many as 600 bears may 
inhabit the park. This many individuals of 
any highly evolved species are unlikely to 
act— much less to react— with any great 
predictability. 

Hypothermia and Winter Warnings 

In the Smokies you must always be pre- 
pared for sudden changes in weather, espe- 
cially as you go from one elevation to 
another. Know how to take care of your- 
self in extremes of cold, heat, and wetness. 
Always carry rain gear because storms 
arise quickly. In mid-summer at higher 
elevations a wet hiker can succumb to 
hypothermia, an all-weather killer. Hypo- 
thermia is a condition in which the body 
loses heat faster than it can generate it. 
You cannot imagine how rapidly hypo- 
thermia symptoms can appear even in 
mild weather— until they strike you. Then 
it may be too late. Know how to recog- 
nize hypothermia's symptoms: uncontrolled 
shivering, slurred speech, memory lapse, 
fumbling hands, stumbling, drowsiness, 
and inability to get up after a nap. 

Prepare yourself against the possibility of 
hypothermia by keeping a warm, dry layer 
of clothing next to the body, topped with 



120 





There is a saying that high boots 
will protect you from poisonous 
snakes, but that common sense 
is needed to keep you out of 
trouble with bears. The timber 
rattlesnake (above) and the cop- 
perhead are the only poisonous 
snakes in these mountains. 



a layer to ward off wind and precipitation. 
Snack often on high-energy foods and 
take ample liquids. In winter wear multi- 
ple layers of insulating clothing under your 
top layer of rain and wind protection. 

Remember that hypothermia strikes in 
any season, not just winter. Winter haz- 
ards include frostbite; icy trails and deep 
snow; and trails obscured by deep snow. 

Management Regulations 

Drive safely, observing posted speed lim- 
its, and pull off the road or park only at 
designated areas. Do not leave valuables 
inside a locked car where they can be 
seen. Leave them home, take them with 
you when you leave your car, or lock 
them in the trunk. 

Hunting is prohibited in the park. Fire- 
arms must be broken down so they can- 
not be used. The use of archery equipment, 
game calls, and spotlights is also prohibited. 

All plants, animals, and artifacts are pro- 
tected by Federal law here. Do not dis- 
turb them in any way. Fishing is permitted 
subject to State and Federal regulation 
and licensing. 

All overnight camping in the backcountry 
requires a backcountry permit. Otherwise, 
camp and build fires only in designated 
campground sites. 

A Word About Pets. It is best not to bring 
pets. They are permitted in the park but 
only if on a leash or under other physical 
control at all times. They may not be 
taken on trails or cross-country hikes. Vet- 
erinary services are found in nearby towns. 
If you want to board your pet during your 
stay here, check with the chambers of 
commerce in nearby cities. 



121 



Nearby Attractions 



To describe the many attractions near the 
Smokies would require an encyclopedic 
guidebook. Nearby are TVA's "Great Lakes 
of the South," Biltmore House and Gar- 
dens, large national forests, Oak Ridge's 
American Museum of Science and Ener- 
gy, and other features too numerous to 
mention. Here are just a few features often 
associated with a Smokies vacation. 

The Blue Ridge Parkway. From the north- 
east the Blue Ridge Parkway makes a 
delightful highway approach to the Smokies 
on the North Carolina side. The parkway 
is administered by the National Park Ser- 
vice and connects Shenandoah National 
Park, Virginia, with the Great Smoky 
Mountains National Park. It meticulously 
follows the southern Appalachians for 755 
kilometers (469 miles). It is a roadway 
designed for motor recreation and so pro- 
vides leisurely travel free of commercial 
development. All along it are trails and 
scenic viewpoints. In season, wildflowers 
and fall colors can be stupendous. Just 
before the parkway reaches the Smokies 
it enters the Balsam Mountains, from which 
you look directly across at the Smokies. 
Just after Soco Gap on the parkway you 
can turn almost due north onto a spur 
road into the national park's Balsam Moun- 
tain Campground and its Heintooga Over- 
look area. 




The Blue Ridge Parkway has its 
southern terminus at the North 
Carolina entrance to the park. 
This is Craggy Gardens, near 
Milepost 364, famous for its 
Catawba rhododendron displays. 
Several lakes created by Tennes- 
see Valley Authority ( TV A) dams 
provide open water recreation 
opportunities, including excellent 
bass fishing, adjacent to or near 
the park. 



For a free map and information folder 
detailing services, lodging and accommo- 
dations, and selected points of interest, 
write: Superintendent, Blue Ridge Park- 
way, P.O. Box 7606, Asheville, North 
Carolina 28807. 

The Gateway Cities. For many people a 
trip to the Smokies is not complete with- 
out taking in the sights of Pigeon Forge, 
Townsend, and/or Gatlinburg, Tennessee, 



122 









~N 



V '';•'-- 



AJ - - 



-%• 



K" 






^r*»S '% 



or Bryson City or Cherokee, North Caro- 
lina. At either end of U.S. 441 these munic- 
ipalities go all-out to serve the tourist trade. 
Restaurants and motels are major indus- 
tries along with curio shops, art galleries, 
and the theme villages that characterize 
our American tourist scene. 

Taken together these surrounding munic- 
ipalities offer most facilities and services 
you might need during your stay in the 
Smokies. Cameras and photographic sup- 
plies, groceries, pharmacies, local litera- 
ture and guides, banks, and countless other 
services are available. 

Cherokee Indian Heritage. The Chero- 
kee Indian Reservation abuts the park 
boundary on the southeast. In Cherokee 
there are museums and shops where the 
art and crafts of these eastern woodlands 
Indians, thought to be of original Iroquoian 
stock, are displayed and offered for sale. 
Each year a play, "Unto These Hills," is 
performed locally. It describes the Cher- 
okee's history and early encounters with 
Europeans. Most of these activities occur 
on the North Carolina side of the park. 

Mountain Folkways and Crafts. Mountain 
ingenuity and the human bent for creativ- 
ity gave rise to crafts characteristic of the 
southern mountains. These are kept alive 
in various outlets surrounding the Smokies. 
In Gatlinburg you can visit the famed 
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, 
which has done so much to revive original 
handicraft arts and support the artists by 
marketing their work. 





American Museum j 
of Science & Energy ! 



£*• 



Three main types of basket ly are 
made by Cherokees. Rivercane 
baskets are now relatively scarce 
because the once-abundant cane 
is itself scarce now. White oak 
baskets are more common. Bas- 
kets are also woven from honey- 
suckle. Above are exquisite 
examples of basketry by Carol 
S. Welch, a member of the East- 
ern Band of Cherokee Indians. 
The American Museum of Sci- 
ence and Technology at Oak 
Ridge National Laboratories 
provides a thoroughly modern 
contrast to the traditional folk- 
ways of the Smokies. 



124 



air Explorations 



Some Books You May 
Want to Read 

The Great Smoky Mountains and their 
national park are both rich in lore, much 
of which has been collected and com- 
mitted to print over the years. Your appre- 
ciation of a trip to these mountains can 
be greatly enhanced, both before and after, 
by reading accounts of the area's history, 
natural history, and folklore. There are 
also field identification guides to nearly 
everything you see here, from rocks and 
flowers to spiders and mammals. And 
there are trail and hiking guidebooks full 
of good tips and advice on interesting 
trips, both day trips and overnights. Listed 
here are selected titles usually available 
for purchase at park visitor centers, or to 
be found in your public library. Many of 
these may also be purchased in bookstores 
in communities near the park. Several 
interesting and useful maps of the area are 
also available. For a more complete list 
of publications write to the Great Smoky 
Mountains Natural History Association, 
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738. This non- 
profit association maintains a sales list 
of technical and other books about the 
Smokies as part of its efforts to enhance 
the interpretation of the park's values to 
the public. 



The Story Behind the Scenery, KC Pub- 
lications, 1979. 

Dykeman, Wilma and Jim Stokely. High- 
land Homeland: The People of the Great 
Smokies, National Park Service, 1978. 

Frome, Michael. Strangers in High Places: 
The Story of the Great Smoky Moun- 
tains, The University of Tennessee Press, 
1980. 

Kephart, Horace. Our Southern Highland- 
ers, The University of Tennessee Press, 
1922. 

Shields, Randolph. The Cades Cove Story, 
Great Smoky Mountains Natural History 
Association, 1977. 

Tilden, Freeman. The National Parks, 
Alfred A. Knopf, 1968. 



Brooks, Maurice. The Appalachians, 
Houghton Mifflin Company, 1965. 

Broome, Harvey. Out Under the Sky of 
the Great Smokies, The Greenbrier Press, 
1975. 

Campbell, Carlos. Birth of a National Park 
in the Great Smoky Mountains, The Uni- 
versity of Tennessee Press, 1960. 

Cantu, Rita. Great Smoky Mountains: 



125 



Index 



Numbers in italics refer to photographs, illustrations, or maps. 



Accommodations 104, 118 
Acorns 67, 68,70 
Adams (flies) 46, 47 
Adirondack*, mountains 55 
Altitude 30 

American Museum of Science 
and Technology 124 
Animals 42, 53, 55-56, 57, 80; 
diseases, 68; effects of settle- 
ment, 81-82, 83; feeding 
habits, 67-73, 75, 81; comeback 
in national park, 83-84; photos, 
33, 63-65 

Appalachian Trail 12-15, 16, 
25,51,7/6-77 

Arrowmont School of Arts and 
Crafts 124 
Azalea, flame 37, 60 

BsAds 36-37, 75,79-80, 114 
Basketry 124 
Basswood 32 

Bear 69-70, 73, 76-77, 105, 120 

Bicycling 52, 112-13 

Birds 32, 33, 42, 53, 55, 62, 72, 

83,113 

Blue Ridge Parkway 122, 123 

Boar 69, 70-73, 74, 75 

Bobcat 63 

Bryson City 124 

Buckeye, yellow 33 

Bug, Humpy or Guff us 46 

Caddis, olive 46 
Caddisfly 45 

Cades Cove 30, 83, 112; motor 

trail, 105-6, 108, 110; photos, 

7, 94-95, 98-100; settlement, 

80; visitor centers, 104, 110 

Cahill 46, 47 

Camping 115-18, 120, 121 

Cardinal 62 

Champion Coated Paper 

Company 48 

Cherokee (city) 124 

Cherry, fire 61 

Chickadee 32 

Climate 30 

Clingmans Dome 9, 30, 51 , 107 

Coachman, ladywing 46 

Copperhead 65 

Coreopsis 59 

Craggy Gardens 122 

Crestmont 49 



Deer, whitetail 63, 67 
Deermouse 63 
Dog-hobble 60 
Dogwood, flowering 61, 111 

Elkmont49, 118 
Enloe, Mrs. Clem 47 

Fish 41, 45, 56-57, 113 

See also Flies, artificial; Trout 

Flicker, common 62 

Flies, artificial 46-47 

Flowers 17, 24, 25, 32-33, 58-59, 

110 

Fontana Lake 42 

Forest 9, 16-17, 27, 30; as food 

source, 67-68, 81; cove 25-26, 

33, 34-35, 54-55, 56, 83; effects 

of settlement, 79-81 , 82-83; fires 

and flooding, 50, 51, 82; photos, 

32-35, 50, 51, 66, 111. See also 

Industry, lumber 

Forney Creek 39. 

Fringe-tree 60 

Frogs 64 

Gatlinburg 122 

Great Smoky Mountains 9, 

10-15, 16, 18-20, 30,52. 53-57,96 
Great Smoky Mountains 
National Park: 

accommodations, 104, 118; 
brochures, 101-14 passim; 
camping, 115-18, 120, 121; 
ecological effects 82-84; 
established 8-9, 16, 82-83; 
health precautions 120-21; 
International Biosphere 
Reserve, 17,31; location, 101; 
maps, 100, 76*7-5. 112,114; 
motor trails 95, 98-99, 105-6, 
107-8, 110; nearby attractions 
122-23; recreation, 106, 112-13; 
regulations, 121; restorations, 
7-8, 78, 92-93, 107, 108-10; 
visitor centers 104, 105 
Grey Hackle Peacock 46 
Grotto Falls, 38, 118 
Guyot, Mount 5 1 

Hare's Ear, gold ribbed 46 
Hawkweed, orange 59 

Hiking 30, 104, 105, 106, 114-17, 
779 



Horseback riding 1 12-13 
Hooper Bald 70 

Indians, Cherokee 9, 16, 79-80, 
96-97 108; Reservation, 124 
Industry, lumber 8 , 48-49, 5 1 , 82 

Jack-in-the-pulpit 58, 110 

Knoxville 95 

Ladys-slipper, pink 59 

Lakes, TVA 7/2. 122 

LeConte, Mount 10-11. 118 

Lily, Turks-cap 59 

Linnaea 17 

Little Greenbrier School, 107, 

110 

Little Pigeon River 57 

Lizard, fence 32, 64 

Logging See Industry, lumber 

Magnolia, umbrella 61 

Maps 101, 102-3, 112,114 
Maryville 95 
Messer, Milas 85 
MingusMill 93, 107, 110 
Motor trails 95, 98-99, 105-6, 
107-8,110 
Mountain laurel 61 
Mushrooms 20, 2 1 

Natural Chimneys 55 
Nymphs 46 

Oconaluftee: river, 48; Valley 
80; Visitor Center, 104, 105 ' 
Opossum 63 
Owl, barred 62 

Painted-cup, scarlet 58 

Passion-flower 59 

Pigeon Forge 122 

Pioneer Farmstead 78, 92-93, 

110 

Plants 20, 22-24, 31 , 52, 53-57, 

55-67.81,110-//. See also 

flowers 

Proctor 49 

Rabbit, cottontail 63 
Rattlesnake, timber 65, 121 
Raven 33 
Ravensford 49 



126 



Redbud 60 

Restorations 7-8 78, 92-93, 107, 

108-10 

Rhododendron, catawba 61; 

rosebay 33 

Salamanders 16,17,40-41, 
64-65, 75 

Secret weapon 46 
Settlement 6, 7-8; mountain 
people, 80-81, 92-93, 108-10; 
occupations, 85-91, 124 
Shrubs 27, 60-61 
SilersBald51 
Silverbell, mountain 60 
Skunk, spotted 63 
Smokemont 49 
Snakes 64, 65, 121 
Sorrel, wood 24, 25 
Spruce 33 
Squirrels 32, 33, 68 
Streams 43, 45 
Sundew 37 

Titmouse, tufted 62 

Toad, American 65 

Townsend 95, 122 

Trees. See Forest 

Trillium: great white 33; 

painted 58, 110 

Trout: brook , 41 , 44-45, 5 1 , 

112, 113; brown, 41, 44,51, 

113; rainbow, 39-40, 41,44, 51, 

113 

Turkey, wild 62 

Turtle, box 32 

Violet, birds-foot 59 
Visitor centers 104, 105 



Warbler, yellow 62 
White Mountains 55 
Witch hazel 25 
Witch-hobble 60 
Wooly worm, yellow 46 
Wulff , royal 46 

Yellow Hammer (antique gold) 
46, (peacock) 46 
Yellow-poplar 61 



•&GPO: 1981 -341-611/7 

For sale by the Superintendent 

of Documents, U.S. Government 

Printing Office, Washington. DC 

20402. 

Stock Number 024-005-008 1 5-2. 



127 



National Park 
Service 



The National Park Service expresses its appreciation 
to all those persons who made the preparation and pro- 
duction of this handbook possible. The Service also 
gratefully acknowledges the financial support given this 
handbook project by the Great Smoky Mountains Natural 
History Association, a nonprofit group that assists inter- 
pretive efforts at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Illustrations 

All photographs and other artwork not credited below 

are from the files of the Great Smoky Mountains 

National Park and the National Park Service. 

American Museum of Science and Energy, 124 

museum. 

William A. Bake covers, 6, 10-1 1 , 33 trillium, 35 

yellow-poplar and mushrooms, 45, 52, 58, 59 birds-foot 

violet, 61 mountain laurel, 66, 78, 92 farmer, 93 

hen. 123 Blue Ridge Parkway. 

Greg Beaumont 62 except turkey, 63 opossum. 

Ed Cooper 4-5, 12-13, 18-19, 34, 38, 92-93 buildings, 

100. 

Edouard E. Exline 85, 86 coopering, 88 hide and 

staves, 89 shaping metal, 91 ginning. 

Daniel Feaser 44 fish. 

George Founds 74, 76. 

Charles S. Grossman 86 tub mill, 87 rolling cane, 

89 gunsmithing, 91 churning, carding and washday. 

Joseph S. Hall 47 angler. 

Indian Arts and Crafts Board 97 baskets, 124 baskets. 

Royce Jenkins 46 yellow hammer and yellow wooly 

worm. 

John MacGregor 64-65 except rattlesnake, pine snake, 

and red-cheeked salamander. 

Kenneth McDonald 14-15, 20, 22-23, 24, 37 sundew, 

98-99, 112 angler, 114, 115 tenter, 116, 119, 122 boat. 

Steve Moore 46 except Jenkins, 47 fly. 

Alan Rinehart 87 mill interior, hauling wood, and 

splitting shingles, 89 basketry. 

Smithsonian Institution 96. 

Laura Thornborough 90, 91 baskets. 



of the Interi 



As the Nation's principal conservation agency, the De- 
partment of the Interior has responsibility for most of 
our nationally owned public lands and natural resources. 
This includes fostering the wisest use of our land and 
water resources, protecting our fish and wildlife, pre- 
serving the environmental and cultural values of our 
national parks and historical places, and providing for 
the enjoyment of life through outdoor recreation. The 
Department assesses our energy and mineral resources 
and works to assure that their development is in the 
best interest of all our people. The Department also 
has a major responsibility for American Indian reserva- 
tion communities and for people who live in island 
territories under U.S. administration.